World

Dad saved toddler from dingo attack in Australia, say rescuers

Rescue personnel say a man fought off several dingoes to save his 14-month-old son from one of the wild dogs that was dragging the boy from their camper van on an Australian island.

Boy, 14 months old, was 3rd child attacked by wild dogs on Fraser Island this year

A paramedic says the family was sleeping when a dingo entered their camper van and grabbed a 14-month-old boy by the back of the neck, dragging him away. (Russell McPhedran/file photo/Associated Press)

Rescue personnel said a father fought off several dingoes to save his 14-month-old son from one of the wild dogs that was dragging the boy from their camper van on an Australian island early Friday.

The boy had deep cuts on his head from the attack on Fraser Island in Queensland state, paramedic Ben Du Toit said.

The family was sleeping when a dingo entered their camper van. Du Toit said the parents awoke to their son's cries, the sound fading as he was dragged away.

The father ran outside and fought off several dingoes to rescue his son.

"He was apparently 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," Frank Bertoli, a pilot for RACQ Life Flight, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The boy was airlifted to a hospital early Friday.

Bertoli said the boy is the third child attacked by dingoes on Fraser Island this year.

The island is part of an Australian national park and is known for its rainforests, wetlands and extensive coastal dunes.

Fraser Island also displays strong warnings for visitors to avoid dingoes and to not try to draw their attention or leave food behind.

Principal Ranger Daniel Clifton told reporters that close interactions with people and access to food can alter dingoes' behaviour and raise aggression.

Extra rangers were assigned to investigate the attack and patrol the island. Clifton said dingo specialists were trying to identify which animals attacked and to brief campers about what happened.