NT News: Brave boy who battled croc
28th January 2014
By ALISON BEVEGE in Kakadu
A MOTHER has told of her son’s terror as he watched his close friend and relative taken by a croc. Jayden Djandjul was playing in the water with four other children at Mudginberri outstation in Kakadu National Park when a croc grabbed his arm.
The brave boy fought off the 2.5m reptile with his bare hands before it turned around and took his friend as the children tried to flee to safety.
His traumatised mum, Sandra Djandjul, 38, of Mudginberri, said her son was still frightened by the horrific episode. ‘‘He keeps thinking too much about his cousin-brother,’’ she said.
Speaking softly outside the Jabiru medical clinic, Ms Djandjul said her son’s right arm was bruised all the way up to the shoulder and he had three stitches.
The tragedy has rocked the close-knit community of about 50 people who live just 20km from the mining town of Jabiru in a collection of fibro houses.
Gwen, an aunt of the 12-year-old boy who is still missing, said the community was devastated. ‘‘We are a very big family and a very close family,’’ she told the NT News.
‘‘Everyone is shattered.’’
Hopes of finding the boy whom the NT News has chosen not to name faded last night and the search efforts were scaled back. Jabiru police Sergeant Stephen Constable said the missing boy’s chances of survival were slim.
‘‘We always maintain hope,’’ he said. ‘‘But the chance of finding him alive is diminished.’’
The grim search will continue today.
As reported on ntnews.com.au yesterday, police first thought the killer croc was up to 4m long and issued orders to kill any found in the search are that were bigger than 3m.
Overnight Sunday, TRG members armed with .308 rifles shot two crocs at 4.3m and 4.7m long.
Parks and Wildlife staff had the gruesome task of slitting open the bellies to look for human remains. By yesterday morning the shoot on sight order was reduced to 2m after crocodile experts measured the bite marks on Jayden’s arm and found the croc had been just 2.5m.
The billabong where the boy went missing connects with the Magela Creek system that links to the floodplains of Kakadu.
Jabiru townsfolk said the killer croc could be anywhere, and it is well known that smaller crocs can be dangerous. ‘‘All it’s got to be able to do is drag you under and drown you,’’ said a local business owner, who did not want to be named.
On Sunday, a police boat and a Parks Australia air boat were set to search with spotlights until midnight when a fresh crew from the East Alligator region took over until 7am yesterday.
Sgt Constable said heavy rain had impeded the search but crocodiles were easier to spot at night by their eyes.