An Australian woman miraculously cheated death after she was thrown from – and subsequently run over by – her own fishing boat in crocodile-infested waters.
Sandy Laverty, 34, was setting crab pots at the mouth of the Cato River in East Arnhem, Northern Territory on the afternoon of June 17, 2017 when the incident occurred.
She was accompanied by her husband Brendon, her daughters Ava, 7, and Mia, 8, and an ominous horde of saltwater crocodiles lurking in the muddy waters below.
Sandy Laverty (centre), 34, miraculously cheated death after she was thrown from – and subsequently run over by – her own fishing boat in Australia’s Northern Territory
A near-tragic accident saw Sandy submerged in waters that were infested with deadly saltwater crocodiles
‘We were just collecting our crabpots to work our way up to the boat ramp,’ Sandy told the NT News.
She was sitting at the front of the boat, on top of an Esky, while Brendon took care of the steering.
As Brendon accelerated, the crab pots stacked in the middle of the boat fell back, prompting him to momentarily let go of the controls in order to grab hold of them.
Within seconds, the boat had swung violently to the right.
‘Because I was sitting up on top of the Esky I slid right to the side,’ says Sandy. ‘And I was holding onto the rail, knowing that I didn’t want to go into that water. But I just couldn’t keep it any longer. I just fell in, screaming.’
She was setting crab pots at the mouth of the Cato River (pictured) in East Arnhem, Northern Territory on the afternoon of June 17, 2017 when the incident occurred
Sandy was thrown from her boat when her husband Brendon momentarily let go of the steering – seconds before the vessel ran over her (pictured: a similar model boat to the one Sandy was cruising in)
She was rushed to Gove District Hopsital in Nhulunbuy (pictured) with serious lacerations across her back and buttocks, a punctured lung, a damaged spleen and broken nine ribs
The boat continued to veer wildly, turning around in the water and ploughing over the top of Sandy before Brendon managed to hit the kill switch.
By that time, however, Sandy’s shirt had become entangled in the motor, pinning her tightly to the underside of the vessel beneath the water.
Brendon jumped in and cut his wife free – but the propellor had sliced open her back and blood was flowing out into the river.
‘That’s when I was worried about crocs – when I was off the motor and waiting in the water,’ she says.
‘I was holding onto the boat and looking down into the water… knowing there were crocodiles in there, thinking ‘This is s**t. Get me the f*** out. I’m done. I need to get out’.’
With Brendon’s help she eventually managed to get back into the boat, collapsing into a chair as her husband gunned it for the nearest hospital.
Having made an incredible recovery, Sandy (pictured with husband Brendon) says it ‘felt right’ when she returned to the area of the Cato River where she almost lost her life
Sandy had suffered serious lacerations across her back and buttocks, punctured her lung and damaged her spleen.
She’d also busted her collarbone and broken nine ribs.
She was rushed to Gove District Hospital in Nhulunbuy, where she was treated with morphine and other drugs before being flown on to Royal Darwin’s Intensive Care Unit.
After a week there she was transferred to the hospital’s burns unit, where she spent a further three weeks recovering from the horrific incident.
It was a near-death experience that easily could have ended in tragedy – but Sandy isn’t one to dwell on what could have been.
Having made an incredible recovery, she says it ‘felt right’ when she returned to the area of the Cato River where she almost lost her life four months later.
‘Continue on,’ she declared. ‘Get on with the story.’