SYDNEY, July 1, 2010 (AFP) - An Australian fisherman got the fright of his life when a three-metre saltwater crocodile jumped from the water and locked its jaws on his net.
Joel Pezzutti was casting for bait in a tidal drain in the northern city of Cairns when the croc leapt for his net and scrambled to within touching distance of where he was standing.
"As I was pulling my cast net in, a croc lunged out of the water, ran up the bank and latched onto my cast net," Pezzutti told the AAP newswire.
"I see a lot of crocs when I go fishing out on the boat but this made my heart skip a beat."
Pezzutti said he could have touched the reptile with an outstretched arm if he'd wanted to, adding that it was the "closest contact I've ever had with a croc".
Worried he would be accused of telling tall tales, the fisherman said he dropped his net and ran to the car for a camera and torch to get photographic evidence.
"It was still sitting there on the bank. It hadn't moved and it wasn't scared of me," he said.
An average of two people are killed each year in Australia by aggressive saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven metres long and weigh more than a tonne.