A DARWIN Crocodile Farm worker accidentally shot his workmate in the arm as he tried to free him from the jaws of a rogue croc yesterday.
Zac Fitzgerald was being hailed a hero last night for saving the life of his workmate, Jason Grant, after he shot the saltie that attacked Mr Grant while they were out collecting eggs at Marrakai Station, about 120km east of Darwin.
But the bullet fired by Mr Fitzgerald also hit his workmate.
Mr Grant was flown to Royal Darwin Hospital where he was having surgery for both the crocodile bite and the bullet wound last night.
Darwin Crocodile Farm owner Mick Burns said his two workers were out collecting eggs about 5pm when the croc attacked Mr Grant.
"He was finishing a nest and he was bitten on the arm," he said.
"The crocodile was splashing about. The other bloke shot the crocodile to get him to release Jason and he was accidentally shot in the arm."
Mr Burns said he was unsure how big the crocodile was or if it survived.
Mr Grant was flown by helicopter straight to Royal Darwin Hospital.
'Don't think I'll be at work'
Mr Burns said his injured worker was in good spirits last night, considering what he had just been through.
"They think he's probably got a broken arm and soft tissue damage from the bites and he's got a bullet wound on the upper part of the arm," he said.
"His first words to me were: `I don't think I'll be at work for a couple of days'."
Mr Burns said there was no doubt the quick-thinking of Mr Fitzgerald had saved Mr Grant's life.
"Jason said to me: `Thank God he's a good shot'.
"He said the croc was crushing about very violently."
The workers are two of the most experienced at the crocodile farm.
"We take all the precautions we can but crocodiles are wild animals," Mr Burns said.
"We have been collecting eggs since the 1970s and you don't get a lot of attacks.
"These things don't happen very often but unfortunately it did happen today."
Mr Burns said Mr Fitzgerald would be offered counselling.
"He's acutely aware that he did the right thing," he said.
The crocodile farm owner was also full of praise for the staff at the Royal Darwin Hospital.
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