A 52-year old fisherman who was pushing their relative’s newly-built motorboat from a river delta towards the sea was the latest survivor of a crocodile attack in Barangay Tagolango, Bataraza, late Friday night.
Hairal Halon Jaapal of Sitio Kamonongan in Tagolango, who sustained bite wounds on different parts of the body, said Sunday that he survived the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) attack by holding onto its head and punching it for around 10 minutes.
Jaapal said they were out at 11:30 p.m. on November 1 to take advantage of the high tide and push the motorboat out to the sea from the river so it can be tested.
“Andoon ako sa puwit ng bangka habang nagtutulak ako, kinagat niya ako. Sinabi ko doon sa kasama ko kinagat ako ng buwaya, tulungan mo ako. Pero natakot siya, ako lang lumaban doon sa buwaya,” he said.
“Hindi ko nakita ‘yong buwaya noong una, pero nahawakan ko, sabi ko parang bunganga ng buwaya ‘yon. Malaki ang buwaya, mga higit dalawang dipa siguro ‘yon. Nahawakan ko ang ulo niya. Dalawang beses niya akong inilubog — ‘yong ulo niya parang kasing laki ng container ng gasolina,” Jaapal added.
He said the noise of the residents who came to help must have helped in making the crocodile let go of his legs.
Jaapal said three nights prior to the attack, Kamonongan residents had seen the crocodile in the tidal mouth of the river but did not harm it because of knowledge of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
“Mga tatlong gabi nakalipas, nakita na ‘yong buwaya. Pero sabi nila hindi raw puwedeng patayin kasi hindi naman nang-aano. Nawala na siya, pero noong ikatlong gabi ‘yon nakagat na ako,” he said.
Jaapal is still at Sagrado Hospital in Brooke’s Point to recuperate from the incident.
On October 8, a crocodile was killed in Barangay Salang, Balabac island town by the relatives of its victim, 20-year-old Junick Husin.
Husin was the 5th victim this year, according to Jovic Fabello, spokesperson of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) Staff.