It was one of the most notorious crocodile attacks in Australian history – and now incredible video and photos of the gruesome incident can be revealed for the first time.
It was 4am one morning in October 2004 when Andrew Kerr, 34, was dragged from his tent at a remote Cape York camp site by a 4.2m crocodile.
But then the mauled and badly injured man was dramatically rescued by 61-year-old grandmother, Alicia Sorohan, who burst out of the next tent and jumped on the creature’s head to save him.
Ms Sorohan was in turn saved by her son Jason who killed the enormous beast with four shots to the head.
Daily Mail Australia can now exclusively show home video of the aftermath of the terrifying attack in Queensland’s far north and hear first-hand accounts of just how the morning unfolded.
Pictured: the 4.2-metre crocodile that savaged 34-year-old Andrew Kerr and 61-year old Alicia Sorohan after it was shot in the head four times
Ben Jones (pictured being tackled by Manly Sea Eagles players at Brookvale Oval in 2006) came upon a horror scene in Bathurst Bay in far north Queensland
Ben Jones, who would later play in the NRL with the Canberra Raiders, shot the amazing footage.
Mr Jones, his dad Bob and his friend Justin Robertson had travelled to Bathurst Bay, in the Cape York Peninsula, for the first time. On the morning they were due to head home from their camp to Brisbane, Mr Jones got up very early.
‘I went down the beach to clean my teeth and saw their light flashing in the distance,’ he said.
‘It didn’t really make much sense to me why the light was flashing. I just thought they were hunting really early. (I didn’t realise) it was to get our attention for some help.’
Saying goodbye to people camped nearby, Mr Jones heard there had been a crocodile attack.
‘They’d already set off an EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon).
‘We thought maybe a crocodile had into the camp and scared them and then gone back into the water. We just didn’t know at that stage what had gone on.’
After driving seven kilometres along a dirt track, they went to see if the people needed any help. ‘Little did we know what we were about to walk into.’
It was a scene of horror.
Andrew Kerr was dragged out of his tent at 4am by a 4.2 metre crocodile
The dead crocodile lay on the beach, just one metre away from one of its victims
Four-months-old Kelly Kerr was in the tent when his dad Andrew was dragged out of it by a massive crocodile
A first aid officer from a Quarantine team arrived by helicopter and helped Andrew Kerr
The 4.2m crocodile lay right beside Andrew Kerr, who it had just mauled.
The severely injured Ms Sorohan had already been taken away to meet a Royal Flying Doctors helicopter that would take her to Cairns Hospital.
A Quarantine helicopter – responding to the EPIRB – had arrived with a crew of three; the pilot, a shooter and – luckily for the victims of the attack – a first aid officer.
The Sorohans had been camping there for the last six or seven years. But Mr Kerr, his wife Di and their four-months-old baby boy, Kelly, were on their first trip.
‘They were 30 to 40 metres set back off the beach, where the beach hits the bush,’ said Mr Jones.
‘So you would think it would be quite a safe place, but this was just a freak occurrence and something I don’t think could have been prevented.
‘There was a main tent and a few other bits of camp. Andrew and Di were in the small tent the crocodile went into. There was also Alicia and her husband Bill, an older couple who were the grandparents of two little kids, and there were three others there as well.’
Those left on the beach tending to Mr Kerr filled Mr Jones in on what happened.
How crocodile snuck into tent and snatched man as he lay with his wife and four-month-old son
‘The crocodile had walked his way up the beach, come across their main camp and went around one of the cars… and it’s come around there to the front of the tent.
‘At that time of year it’s boiling hot up there, it’s quite tropical. Andrew and Di had the tent closed, the tent flaps were open, but the fly screen was down.
‘It’s four o’clock in the morning, there’s a little bit of moon, but basically it’s pitch black.
‘Di heard a rustle outside and thought it might have been a pig, a dingo, even maybe a wild bull.
‘She put her head up to look outside and she could see the silhouette of the crocodile.
‘She woke Andrew and as he opened his eyes and sat up, this crocodile has come flying through the fly screen of the tent, split it into pieces and grabbed him by the hip and started to drag him out.
‘All his main concern was his four-month old son who was behind him. He’s yelling out “Di, grab the baby, grab the baby.”
Examining the 4.2 metre crocodile after it had been shot four times in the head
The huge crocodile came close to killing a 34-year-old man and a 61-year-old woman
‘He’s trying to beat this crocodile off, punching, kicking, fighting his way to stay alive.
‘This crocodile starts to drag him down the beach, and you know one thing about crocodiles, they want to take you underwater so they can finish you off.
‘He’s screaming and yelling and that’s woken up the rest of the camp.
‘The eldest of all of them, Alicia (61 at the time) was the first one to see what was happening. It’s dark, there’s obviously a lot of panic, everyone’s running around trying to see what’s going on.
‘It’s unbelievable what Alicia did next. She’s ran over to the crocodile as everyone else ran out trying to gather what was going on. Her husband Bill ran to the side of the tent trying to find an axe. Her sons had weapons as they were there hunting pigs.
‘But Alicia was the first to see the crocodile and she’s jumped on its head. It’s reacted and spun around and broke her nose with its head and then grabbed onto her arm and absolutely mangled her arm, lacerated it.
‘It’s somehow let go of her and this crocodile is quite angry. Her son Jason, who was lucky enough to have a gun at that stage, has put his knee on its head, its neck area, and put four good shots straight into the back of the head of the crocodile and killed it right there and then.
Ben Jones playing for the Canberra Raiders against the Saint George Illawarra Dragons on May 25, 2007. Three years earlier, he filmed the aftermath of a crocodile attack in Queensland
‘Just unbelievable heroics from both Alicia and Jason to do what they did.
‘Poor old Andrew, he was sitting there, he had a broken right leg and broken left arm, puncture wounds all up his arm. It was quite a confronting thing to walk into.
‘The poor fella had to sit there with the dead crocodile right in front of him, a metre away.
‘With Alicia, she was bleeding quite heavily. Bill, her husband, and one of the other guys, decided to put her into the Land Cruiser and drive her to the nearest place that the Royal Flying Doctors could pick her up from, a runway at Kalpowar Crossing, about seven hours drive away.
The crocodile had attacked and seriously injured two people, but met its fate with four bullets into the head
‘They didn’t know if she’d make it or not, so the decision was made to leave Andrew where he was because he was stable and wasn’t bleeding heavily. Although he had a lot of blood missing, it was stable.
‘But Alicia was bleeding very heavily and needed attention as quick as possible, so the decision was made to take her out where the Royal Flying Doctor picked her up and took her to Cairns Hospital.
‘We helped the Quarantine guys with the first aid with Andrew and to get him into the chopper and off to hospital.’
Mr Jones called in to see Ms Sorohan two days later on their way home. ‘She was in good spirits.
‘She’d had a lot of antibiotics to try to stop infections, which is a major concern after any crocodile bite because of the amount of germs on their teeth.’
Alicia Sorohan died in May 2020, but recalled that fateful day in a documentary by Journeyman Pictures.
‘I’m no hero, I still say I’m no hero,’ she said.
‘I did what I had to do, he needed help and I was there, I was the first one there – so I just jumped on the croc and that was it.’
Mr Kerr had feared the worse. ‘Once it had my leg, I thought I was going to die – I thought this is it. Just that split second (of Ms Sorohan jumping on the crocodile) saved my life.
‘Once Alicia jumped on the crocodile, it let me go, that just bought me enough time to get away.’
One of the tents at the scene of a shocking crocodile attack in Bathurst Bay, in the remote far north of Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula
‘When I jumped on him – it was terrible – he threw his head back at me and knocked my face, and broke my nose and busted my teeth – then I fell down beside him and he grabbed my arm, and I thought – it’s not good here I couldn’t get away,’ said Ms Sorohan.
‘I knew I was in strife, I thought I was gone.’
But then her son Jason intervened.
‘I jumped over and put my hands down on top of him – at that stage, someone had a light coming from the back and I put the handgun into the back of his head and fired two shots.’
But the crocodile was still wriggling around.
‘I fired two more shots and he just stopped like the batteries were dead.’
Ben Jones now works as a financial planner – a much more sedate life than either playing in the NRL or being on the scene of a horrific crocodile attack.
‘Something that I’d been thinking about actually happened. Thank God it didn’t happen to us. And thank God that Alicia and Andrew and their families were all safe.
‘They really did show us what mateship is all about and what courage is all about that day.’