Two best friends, both in their 70s, were crabbing near Darwin in Australia’s North Territory when their boat was nudged by a saltwater crocodile and capsized, causing the drowning of one of the men, according to CNN affiliate Seven Network.
Ray Mccomber and Noel Ramage tried to climb onto the capsized boat and Ramage drowned in the process, according to Ian Badham, the director of CareFlight, an aeromedical charity that contributed to the survivor’s rescue.
“Saltwater crocodiles are serious. They’re big animals, powerful animals.” said Badham,
Mccomber was eventually able to take shelter among mangroves, but had to battle multiple crocodiles with spanners (or wrenches as they’re known in the United States) and spark plugs before being rescued.
He hit one crocodile on the head with a spanner and took spark plugs from the boat’s outboard motor to throw at other crocodiles that also attacked the boat. Badham said the man didn’t say exactly how many crocodiles there were.
His boat was about 10 feet long.
“Very small dingy. I dunno how safe it was. I wouldn’t have been in the water with a dingy like that,” local fisherman Tony Geranis told Seven Network.
“This is Darwin, you know, crocodiles everywhere,” he said.
Mccomber was rescued after three hours, when a group of professional crabbers found the 72-year-old in the mangroves. Badham said rescuers rarely went into that area, but decided to do so on a whim.
They also brought Ramage’s body to shore.
Badham said Mccomber was exhausted and suffering from exposure and severe shock when CareFlight picked him up. He was taken to a hospital and has since been released.
Badham said people from all over the world vacation in Australia’s remote northern regions, but some don’t know the dangers that various animals in the region can pose.
“Unfortunately, every so often one of these things happens and we remember that they’re not just stories,” Badham said.
CNN’s Alessandra Castelli contributed to this story