This Australian teen got mauled by a crocodile to impress a girl

Surprisingly, it didn’t work.
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

When 18-year-old Lee De Paauw of Queensland, Australia jumped into the croc-infested waters of the Johnstone River early Sunday morning, he had good reason. He did it for love. Naturally.

DePaauw, admittedly, wanted to woo a British backpacker by the name of Sophie Paterson. Lucky gal. He said he also wanted, in part, to prove a point. After an evening throwing back "cups of goon" with his mates and some travellers at a local hostel, he offered up a theory. "I started telling them how backpackers were more likely to get eaten by a crocodile than Australians" Mr De Paauw explained to 9NEWS. When Paterson double-croc dared him to prove his point, he obliged her and jumped into the Johnstone. It did not go well.


A three-meter crocodile, intent on proving DePaauw's goon-fueled theory wrong, clamped onto his left arm . After being dragged six metres by the crocodile, DePaauw rebutted by giving it a shiner. The crocodile, which had started to roll him (known as the death roll in the croc community) would have certainly drowned and devoured him had he not punched it square in the eye with his free arm. While he lost some points on the idiocy of his argument, he may have won a few back for survival skills.

When asked if he felt sheepish about the incident, he said he "wasn't concerned." It's probably easier to be cavalier about a bruised ego when your actions nearly cost you far more than your pride. De Paauw who remains in Cairns Hospital, for a properly mangled left arm, will be recovering there all week. They can't patch him up until they get some of the crocodile mouth bacteria under control. Fact.

Sadly, the young Miss Paterson was left unimpressed and turned down his bid for courtship once he's released from hospital care. Pity may have played a large role in dousing the flames of De Paauw's act of bravery. "I've never heard a guy scream like that," she said. Not quite the sound of a love warble nor the roar of machismo you'd want to project. Also, his masculine prowess was likely eclipse by some other stuff. Paterson said "there was a lot of blood, a lot of bone." Sweet Christmas.

Thankfully, traditional flirting has not been replaced by a good old-fashioned croc-mangling. Any young suitors out there should try some snappy banter before risking life and limb.

Speaking of anatomy, was this a bonehead move on his part? Well, Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan told a local newspaper that those living in croc country need to understand the inherent dangers. He was also quoted as saying, "most people have got common sense ... we can't legislate to protect dickheads". Unquote. A sound governing policy.

Still, De Paauw, a die-hard romantic, said he'd do it all again for love. "It was all worth it. She's beautiful, caring and kind." To be fair, some might argue that love turns us all into d*ckheads. Especially in our youth, after a few "cups of goon".

Marc Beaulieu is a writer, producer and host of the live Q&A show guyQ LIVE @AskMen.