A crocodile attack in Western Australia’s Kimberley region has sparked calls for tourist operators to reconsider allowing guests to swim in waterholes in the area.
A New South Wales woman in her 50s was bitten on the face while swimming in a waterhole in the Prince Regent River in the Prince Regent National Park last Friday. She was in the water alongside other passengers from the Discovery One charter boat.
The ABC reports that the woman was flown by seaplane to Koolan Island before being transferred to the Broome Hospital, where she remains in a stable condition.
The land where the attack happened is owned by the Dambimangari people.
“I think we’ve got to respect the fact that it is the crocodile’s home at the end of the day,” Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation CEO, Peter McCumstie, told the ABC. “They do swim and they can walk across places, so to sort of jump into a freshwater pool believing that there’s no possibility whatsoever that a saltwater crocodile might be in there I think is just deluding yourself and probably [an] unnecessary risk to life and limb.”
Mr McCumstie said tourist operators needed to take a more proactive role in warning tourists about swimming in the park.
The Dambimangari traditional owners are hoping to increase the presence of rangers in the area.
A spokeswoman from Kimberley Discovery Cruises, which runs the Discovery One, told the ABC the crocodile may have entered the waterhole during a high tide.
The spokeswoman said the company was carrying out a review.
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