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Crocodile launches itself onto Australian fisherman's boat with "jaws wide open"

Australian authorities are investigating after a crocodile jumped on board a fisherman's boat in Queensland while the man was fishing at a creek on New Year's Eve. 

The fisherman, identified by local media as Richard Brookman, told authorities he had been fishing for about four hours when he saw the reptile approaching, according to a news release from the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation. Brookman told authorities that he moved to the back of the boat to start the engine. The crocodile then swam under the boat, turned and launched itself "up and into the vessel with its jaws wide open," officials said. 

"I stood up to go back down to the back of the boat, then he went under and I thought, 'This is not going to end well,'" Brookman told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Brookman said he had to jump over the 13-foot crocodile to get to the front of the ship and retrieve the anchor. The massive reptile apparently pivoted, over-balanced and fell into the water, bending the boat's rails, according to the news release. 

"It was just sort of sheer luck then that he slid out. I think my [late] grandfather was looking after me," Brookman told ABC.

Brookman told authorities that he had never seen such a large crocodile in the area before, and had fished in the creek for decades. Between December 1985 and July 2023, the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation recorded 13 fatal crocodile attacks and 34 non-fatal incidents in the region. 

Authorities said that they will conduct a daytime site assessment of the area where Brookman was attacked, install signage warning of a recent crocodile sighting, and attempt to find the crocodile. If the reptile is not found during the day, a nighttime assessment will be done, and if a crocodile is found, its behavior and potential public safety risk will be assessed. 

"If it is assessed as a problem crocodile, it will be targeted for removal from the wild," the the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation said. 

Members of the public have been urged to use caution in the area, which is part of what Australian officials call "Croc Country." Crocodiles are highly mobile, the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation said, and can travel to any waterway. Sightings of crocodiles should be reported to authorities so that they can be investigated and assessed. 

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