An Australian man rescued his infant son from the jaws of a dingo on Friday, after a group of the wild dogs attacked their camping van in the night. The child was airlifted to a hospital with a fractured skull and puncture wounds to the back of the head.
“The parents woke up to the baby screaming and chased after him and had to fight the dingoes off to take the 14-month-old boy away,” Lifeflight pilot Frank Bertoli told local media on Friday.
“He was grabbed around the back of the neck area and dragged away, so if it wasn’t for the parents and their quick thinking and fighting off the dingoes, he probably would have had more severe injuries.”
A helicopter from emergency air service LifeFlight responded to the early morning call, lifting the infant and his mother from Fraser Island, Queensland, to Hervey Bay Hospital.
The boy was conscious and in a stable condition as he was treated, according to Queensland Health spokesperson Christopher McLaughlan. The boy is now receiving additional care in Queensland Children’s Hospital.
Dingo attacks are not uncommon on Fraser Island, a popular holiday destination that is home to up to 30 packs of dingos, each with as many as 12 dogs each.
In January, a 6-year-old boy survived an attack by a pack of wild dingoes, prompting an inquiry into dangers posed by the dingo population by the Queensland government.
In 2001, over 110 dingoes were euthanized on Fraser Island after a 9-year-old boy was killed in a dingo attack. However, environmental scientists believe that the cull had little effect on the dingo population of Fraser island, which has been seen to show more aggressive behavior as a result of sustained contact with campers and holidaymakers.
Australia’s most notorious dingo attack occurred in 1980, when Lindy and Michael Chamberlain’s 2-month-old daughter Azaria was believed to have been taken by one of the dogs from the couple’s campsite at Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) in central Australia.
Lindy Chamberlain was accused and imprisoned for allegedly murdering the baby but was later found not guilty on appeal.