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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 April, 2004, 06:08 GMT 07:08 UK
Girl survives croc attack
By Phil Mercer
BBC, Sydney

Saltwater crocodile
Saltwater crocodiles have killed before
An 11-year-old girl has been rescued from the jaws of a crocodile in northern Australia.

She was saved by a man who jumped onto the back of the large predator and gouged at its eyes.

The child was swimming with friends at a beach on Cape York Peninsula north of Cairns when she was attacked.

Anna Thomspon was grabbed by the 10-foot crocodile which tried to drag her under the water. She suffered puncture wounds and is recovering in hospital.

It could have been much worse had it not been for the heroic actions of a local tour guide.

Roy Turner leapt from his boat onto the top of the giant reptile, gouging at its eyes and forcing it to release the child.

He said the creature was just moments away from going into a death roll when it kills its victim.

It is estimated there are more than 100,000 salt water crocodiles in tropical northern Australia.

They are believed to have killed more than a dozen people in the past 20 years, including a 22-year-old man who was snatched while swimming with friends last December.

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