In today's local paper, we have some photos of people pushing the boundaries of what's a safe distance when in crocodile habitat, and includes a shot of a young girl sitting in the fast flowing water above the barrage at Shady Camp fishing. Another photo shows a guy wading thru the water up to his neck after a fishing lure.
Situations like this happen a lot in north Australia and I've seen situations like this myself, where maybe people get a bit too much sun and sometimes a bit to much too drink and will become a little blase about the risk of a crocodile attack. It actually goes to show that if crocodiles were really out to eat people all the time then they'd have plenty of opportunities.
Shady Camp is an interesting place, its a great place to catch a barramundi (popular fish up here) and it also has the highest concentration of wild saltwater crocodiles in the world. Crocodiles are also there for the fish, but they generally don't like people and tend to stay away as they associate us with getting a beer can thrown at them or maybe a fishing lure caught in their mouth.
Crocodiles will occasionally make the most of opportunities that present themselves, and a lot of the fatal crocodile attacks that have occured are directly because of people putting themselves in a dangerous situation. Most fatal attacks have occured when people were swimming in known crocodile habitat, and a high percentage of victims had consumed alcohol that could have impaired their judgement.
This situation above with people swimming at Shady Camp is very similar to the situation in 1987 at Cahill's Crossing in Kakadu National Park. On that occasion a fisherman Kerry McLoughlin pushed the boundaries of croc safety by swimming across the river for a lure and ended up being decapitated by a 5 metre croc in front of a lot of other fisherman, including his 17 year old son.
Below I've posted a video of saltwater crocodiles at the same barrage seen in the photo above. This is from Life in Cold Blood with David Attenborough, and the spectacular footage was filmed by Mark Lamble and assisted by us at Big Gecko. The irony in filming this crocodile sequence was we had to contend with lots of drunk fisherman doing silly things around crocodiles.