While most grey nomads know there is a long list of wild creatures that can pose a campsite danger, water buffalo are not generally high on that list.
But that could all change after a dramatic incident in the NT’s remote Arnhem Land, which left a man badly injured.
He was then airlifted to the Royal Darwin Hospital on board a CareFlight King Air turbo prop aircraft.
CareFlight said the experienced safari tour guide suffered lacerations and suspected fractures when he was attacked by the buffalo about 170 kilometres north-west of Numbulwar.
“It is believed the buffalo charged at another man who had fallen to the ground, when the tour guide put himself between the buffalo and the man,” it said.
“Local clinic staff picked him up at his remote location and drove for several hours on an unsealed road back to Numbulwar.”
The injured man was then flown out of the Numbulwar airstrip.
The NT News has named the injured man as 73-year-old Gordon Sargeant, who has apparently been frequenting the fishing and camping sites of King Ash Bay for most of the past decade.
He told the newspaper he had often watched the ‘magnificent’ buffalo drinking from the river, but never dreamt of coming eye-to-eye with one.
However, that changed when one of the wild beasts charged him and two friends on Saturday.
“We heard a bit of a noise, it sounded like horses galloping … it was actually a buffalo as we know now,” Mr Sargent said. “It came from behind, straight past us and then he just put his head down and – all in one motion – just charged us … it was bang, bang, bang.”
Mr Sargeant told the NT News that the friend to his right got bruised, and the friend on his left was scratched.
“I got the brunt of it, I was face-to-face with him, he was right against me,” he said. “I just held onto his horns so that, whatever he did with his head, I kept away to keep my stomach away from him, because that’s what they go for.”
Mr Sargeant, who is apparently recovering well after his ordeal, expressed his gratitude to the quick action of CareFlight and the quality treatment of Royal Darwin Hospital … and he said his admiration for the buffalo remained undiminished,
Mr Sargeant told the NT News his camping equipment remained in King Ash Bay and he would collect it in August.
It is estimated that there are around 200,000 feral buffalo roaming the Northern Territory.
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