A French deckhand swimming in remote waters in Australia has fended off an attack by a six-foot crocodile which grabbed his head in its mouth and began a death roll.
Yoann Galeran, 29, was dragged underwater by the crocodile but said he "punched” it and escaped with a "few holes on the head".
"I just feel that I’ve been lucky and I just think if it was a bigger crocodile, I maybe wouldn’t have any head," he said.
Mr Galeran was swimming at night to a dinghy about 50 feet from shore in remote Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory when the saltwater crocodile began to attack.
He said it was dark, with no moon, and he had no warning of the coming attack or the attempted deathroll, a manoeuvre in which crocodiles grab a body part and roll over to try to break it off.
"I was swimming, and maybe four or five metres from the boat, I just feel like rocks hitting on my head and something strong and I just realise it was a croc."
"I just had the feeling that if I want to fight for my life, I just need to move all my body as much as I can. He just hit me on the top, on the left side, and on top of my neck and tried to push me down in the water. I punched him anywhere."
Mr Galeran, an Australian resident born in Avignon, said his head was in the mouth of the crocodile for less than a second.
He received two puncture wounds from teeth on the back of his neck and another three or four punctures on the sides of his head.
"I didn’t think about dying," he said. "It was going so fast — everything happened in less than five seconds and then I fell free… I only thought about fighting to stay alive."
Mr Galeran, who works for a fishery, had been spending the evening on Sunday at a local yacht club and decided to swim to the dinghy.
After breaking free from the crocodile, he swam about ten feet to the nearby dinghy and was later treated at a nearby hospital.
Locals said the crocodile had been lurking in the area for the past few weeks.
His boss at the fishery, Lisa Heathcote, said Mr Galeran emerged from the attack bloodied and grinning.
"We’ve walked out on the back deck and Jo’s standing there with a big grin on his face and blood pouring out of him," she said.
"It’s lucky he’s a fit, strong bloke and was able to fight off the croc. A smaller person or child would have killed."
The skipper of the fishing vessel where Mr Galeran works, Craig van Lawick, added: "It wasn’t until he got ashore and saw the claret flowing that he realised it was real."