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Aussie beauty Tara Hawkes, 23, escapes death from jaws of cannibal crocodile

Monday, December 10, 2012

 STUNNING Aussie Tara Hawkes is lucky to be alive after she was snatched from the jaws of a man-eating crocodile.

The 23-year-old was attacked by a three-metre-long croc while she paddled in a freshwater pool in Dugong Bay, Western Australia, during a break from her job as a hostess on a luxury cruise ship.

Before she'd even spotted it in the water, the terrifying creature had clamped its teeth around her left thigh and pulled her under the surface.

Tara said: “I felt this impact on my leg and I was pulled under water.
 Lucky escape ... 23-year-old Tara shows off the scars from her croc attack
"He was playing with me like I was a teddy bear.

"I was just screaming for help. I thought I was going to die. I could only see about four centimetres of the top of my leg and the rest was in the croc’s gob."

Tara's friend Al Sartori was watching on from the shore and thought Tara was playing a prank on him - until he spotted blood in the water.

Al grabbed bystander Mike Fletcher and the pair dived in and swam to the rescue.

Mike held Tara's head above the water, while Al wrestled the croc until it released its grip and they were able to pull her to safety.
Injuries ... Tara was left with deep wounds on her left thigh and feared she'd lose her leg
Tara explained: “Al stuck his thumbs into its eyes and it released its grip a little bit and I managed to get my leg out with the help of Mike."

But Tara's ordeal was not over. She had lost pints of blood and had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital, where surgeons spent four hours battling to save her leg.
 Terror lagoon ... beauty was taking a break from her job as a cruise ship hostess when the beast attacked
She explained: "I looked at my leg and it had been ripped to pieces. I thought I had a chance of losing it at that stage."

The doctors were successful and Tara is left with just scars to remind her of her brush with death.

Al and Mike, meanwhile, have been honoured for their heroism with the Royal Life Saving Society’s Western Power Bravery Awards.

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