by Daniel Bateman, The Cairns Post
A KATTERS Australia Party candidate claims a cane farm worker had to have his hand prised from the jaws of a crocodile that latched onto him at a Mareeba property.
A cane harvest crew working on the Peters Rd farm was alerted to the 1.4m croc that had suffered significant burns from a recent fire on the property over the weekend, The Cairns Post reported.
KAP candidate for Cook, Gordon Rasmussen, has posted on social media that company workplace safety officer Daryl Bell was called by a harvesting machine operator to capture the reptile, and tape its jaws, to remove it from the property.
Mr Rasmussen, who works as a cane harvesting contractor and was present on the farm during the incident, said the injured animal had latched onto Mr Bell's hand, puncturing his thumb and fingers and it "would not let go."
Mr Bell said: "the operator grabbed the tail and I grabbed the jaws but its skin started to peel off, I lost my grip and it grabbed my hand."
"Its teeth went right through my thumb nail and a finger," he said.
"I felt sorry for the croc because it had been burnt and I had no intention of hurting it."
Mr Bell was taken to Mareeba Hospital for treatment.
Harvest Mareeba owner Bruce Raven confirmed the incident with the Cairns Post.
He said saltwater crocodiles were present in the waterways in the district, which is 40km from the coast.
Smaller crocs have been reported in the area, including a 1.5m saltie that was spotted at the Mareeba Wastewater Treatment plant earlier this year.
Mr Raven said his wife had tried to contact the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) over the weekend for assistance in removing the injured animal, however the department did not respond.
Comment is being sought from EHP.