Photo of 3m croc at Trinity Beach stinger
A 3m-plus croc swims in the stinger enclosure
A woman has told how she swam into a monster
crocodile and stared in its eyes during an Easter Sunday dip at
Connie Verheyen, 55, thought she had stumbled across a log covered in barnacles as she did laps inside stinger nets about 8.00am
She soon realised she was face-to-face with the 3m-plus croc
"It was scabby and I saw eyes and it started spouting water at me" she told The Cairns Post
"I thought uh-oh, a log is not supposed to be like that, I have to get out of here
To come eye-to-eye, be so close, it was really frightening"
Ms Verheyen and her partner Gary Plant, who also had been swimming inside the nets, were relieved after her brush with such a dangerous animal
"It's not every day you get to smile at a crocodile and survive" Mr Plant said
Fearing the croc would attack her, Ms Verheyen said she turned and fled so fast she could have "made the Olympic team"
"I thought he was going to take a deep breath and dive under and get me" she said
Mr Plant said the croc was at least 3m long and its head was about 40cm wide
"Connie`s very slight," he said
"She`s about five-foot-six and 45kg - no match for a 12-foot croc"
Lifeguards and police were alerted and about two-hundred Easter Sunday beach-goers gathered to get a glimpse of the trapped animal
Surf Life Saving Queensland's Ebeny Keating said the croc most likely slipped into the enclosure sometime overnight as it moved between creeks
"It looks like he's tried to swim under the boom but he couldn't get out because of the nets" she said
"He was definitely a big one"
Other people had been swimming in the nets before Ms Verheyen's brush with the croc, she said
"They could've potentially been in the water with him" Ms Keating said
The nets were lowered to free the croc
Ms Verheyen said the croc must have been distressed and exhausted from its ordeal in the swimming nets
"Obviously he wasn't hungry or he would've got me there and then" she said
"He was so close I wouldn't have been able to escape"
Ms Verheyen had not even seen a croc at the beach where she had regularly swum for the past twenty-five years
She said she would most likely return to her morning swim, despite the ordeal