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Man punches croc after it bites his head

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A Frenchman has been bitten on the head by a crocodile but managed to fight the creature off by punching it repeatedly.

Yoann Galeran was swimming to retrieve a moored dinghy at Nhulunbuy in northern Australia on Sunday evening when the crocodile attacked.

The saltwater croc, which was between 2.5 and 3m (8.2 to 9.8ft) long, grabbed the 29-year-old deckhand by the head and rolled him in the water - a manoeuvre known as a death roll.

But he was able to fight off the reptile before scrambling to safety aboard the dinghy and making it back to shore.

He said: "It went straight away to the top of my head and diving under the water he tried to do that spinning thing.

"It was going so fast - everything happened in less than five seconds and then I fell free. I'm very lucky.

Mr Galeran's boss Lisa Heathcote told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: "He said it felt like a rock, somebody throwing a rock on him.

"Then, next thing, it's got him by the head and rolled him and his instincts kicked in and he's just started to punch into it."

Ms Heathcote, the manager of Arnhem Fisheries, said the crocodile had been lurking in the area for the past fortnight.

Mr Galeran was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment to bite marks to his head, neck and shoulders.

Zoologist Charlie Manolis said the crocodile probably weighed less than 40kg (88lb) and was too small to be a serious threat to an adult.

He said: "Had it been a 4m (13ft) or bigger crocodile, there would have been a 100 per cent chance that he'd be dead now.

"That size animal in daylight would probably not have gone near him.

"It can cause you significant damage if the animal really bites you a fair bit, but really they're not strong enough to overpower a full grown human."

A Northern Territory police spokeswoman said he was treated for puncture wounds but he was not seriously injured.

"So very lucky that he managed to swim away. It could have been a lot more dire," she said.

Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to 7m in length and weigh more than a ton, are a common feature of Australia's tropical north.

They have been protected since the 1970s and their numbers have increased steadily since, along with the number of human encounters.

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