A crocodile has been captured mauling one of its handlers, as tourists initially thought the reptile’s aggression was ‘part of the show’.
She attempts to fend off the 2.5m saltwater crocodile but the animal lunges and brings her to the ground as it mauls her arm.
Ms Robertson can then be heard screaming in pain as her fellow handler, Rick Lingard, hits the crocodile with a stick.
Mr Lingard has been credited with saving his colleague’s life, who escaped with serious injury to her arm. After arriving at hospital she had three plates inserted into the broken bone but luckily suffered no nerve damage.
The female crocodile, known as ‘Tipper’, was taking part in a live feeding show when the attack happened. A witness told the Courier Mail that those watching first thought the animal’s rushing towards the handler to be part of the show.
“The screams you could hear were shocking,” he said. “We felt so helpless for the poor woman in the enclosure.”
Bob Flemming, who owns the sanctuary, revealed that Ms Robertson had been halfway through a six-month training period as a ‘spotter’.
“It was a very unfortunate incident and one that we’re very sad about,” he said.
He also described the injured handler as “very competent in working with female [crocodiles] and performing that spotting role.”
“As Tipper is a crocodile, she’s certainly not going to be euthanised but we’ll review our training procedures and make sure it never happens again.”
Claire Fryer, campaign coordinator for PETA, said that a zoo cannot prevent any animal’s natural instincts.
"Zoos give people the false idea that these animals are somehow domesticated and able to be used and abused for our entertainment," she said.
"Captivity does not extinguish an animal's instincts.
"Attacks by captive crocodiles on people – which occur with staggering regularity – illustrate the profound levels of stress, anxiety and agitation that these animals experience every day of their lives."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies