Family Rescued From Crocodile-Infested River Crossing By Fisherman
A Darwin man has shared how he helped to rescue about seven people from Cahills Crossing, a notorious river crossing and feeding ground for crocodiles.
Last Monday, Alf Lang and his partner Charlie Maltezos were fishing near the crossing on the East Alligator River, about 3.5 hours east of Darwin in Kakadu National Park.
Cahills Crossing offers the only road access point between Arnhem Land and the national park. It's infamous for having high water flow and an abundance of saltwater crocodiles.
Lang told 10 daily he has visited the area several times before to fish for barramundi, but usually steers clear of the crossing.
But last week, he said he watched as a group of up to seven people -- including at least two children -- drove up to the crossing in a small Holden Astra.
"I jokingly said to them, 'don't go getting bogged in there because I'm not pushing you out'," he said.
"They laughed and away they went."
Lang claims the little car entered the water just as the tide came in, and quickly got stuck.
He said he watched as the children climbed onto the roof as the car filled with water.
"They were panicking -- especially the young girl on the roof," Lang said.
"They were yelling out, 'please hurry, please hurry'."
Lang said he raced to the nearby ranger's hut, about two kilometres away, to get help but said nobody was around.
As he began preparing his own 4WD to rescue the car's occupants, another driver arrived at the scene, hoping to also cross the river.
Together, Lang and the other driver used snatch straps to tow the car to safety.
"Once we got them out to safety on one side, we towed them across to the other side because they didn't want to leave their car unattended," Lang said.
"It was very lucky he [the other driver] was there, because there was no one else around... and it was lucky I had decided to thrown tow ropes in the car."
Cahills Crossing is known to be a dangerous river crossing that requires a high clearance 4WD and knowledge of the tides.
Lang said he thought the family were "ambitious" to attempt to cross in a small car.
"I was thinking, 'they're crazy, it's way too deep'. They should have at least waited until the tide went out," he said.