KOTA KINABALU (ANN/THE STAR) – A plucky nine-year-old boy fought off a crocodile which had attacked him while he was swimming during high tide.
He managed to stave off the reptile after a struggle, though he ended up with bites to his hand, shoulder and head.
“The boy is in stable condition. He received eight stitches to his injured hand,” said Sabah Wildlife Department’s Sandakan assistant officer Mozain Abbas.
The attack happened at about 1pm on Tuesday at the water village of Kampung Batu Putih in Sandakan.
The boy and his friends had decided to swim back to their seaside stilt houses as there was high tide. It was then that the crocodile emerged.
Urbin Markum, 39, came to his son’s rescue while the boy was fighting off the crocodile.
He was then taken to a private clinic.
Mozain said a wildlife team monitored the area after the incident.
“When the water receded, our team surveyed the area but there was no sign of the crocodile,” he said.
The residents there had been advised to stay vigilant.
“Adults must ensure children are not in the water or playing in the area near the river,” he said.
Crocodile attacks are rising in Sabah’s east coast rivers in Beluran and Lahad Datu, among others.
On Tuesday, a 12-year-old boy was killed in a crocodile attack on Sumangat Payau Island in Sandakan.
In Kota Kinabalu, crocodiles can be seen daily in a pond at the popular Likas Sports Complex jogging track.
Although no untoward incidents have occurred, concerns remain over the presence of at least four to five crocodiles there.
The sports authorities have put up warning signs while wildlife rangers have placed traps, but so far none of the reptiles have been captured.