SYDNEY: A young boy was mauled by a dingo at a popular tourist island in eastern Australia, with his father saying the wild dog and its pack “wanted blood”.
The six-year-old child, who is in a stable condition, was attacked on Saturday during a family trip to the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island off the Queensland state coast.
“The family had finished swimming when the young boy said he wanted to race up a sand dune. Unfortunately, when he got to the top, there was a pack of four dingoes,” RACQ LifeFlight Rescue spokesman Dan Leggat said in a statement.
“One of the dingoes attacked the boy and bit him on the leg.”
The boy, identified by local media as Michael Schipanski, was treated by paramedics and flown to a nearby hospital.
Mark Schipanski said on Monday his son was running up the dune with his mother when the dingoes saw him and “went straight into the chase-and-kill instinct”.
“They wanted blood,” he told Queensland’s Courier Mail.
“I heard him screaming, bone-chilling screams of terror and fear and pain, and turned around and saw him set upon and dragged down by this pack of dingoes. It was out-of-control, vicious, terrifying.
“He has severe puncture wounds, bite and teeth marks, to both his legs. One dingo had him by the leg and was trying to drag him off down the sand.”
The father said he managed to pull his son from the dogs within seconds and carry him off.
Fraser, the world’s largest sand island, is popular with tourists for its beaches — and dingoes.
Authorities have warned visitors in the past that dingoes are wild animals and need to be treated as such. Tourists are also told to keep children close by, to not run, and to not to feed the dingoes.
A nine-year-old boy was killed by one of the dogs on Fraser Island in 2001. A dingo was put down by Queensland authorities last year after a woman and a child were bitten in separate incidents.
Native to Australia, dingoes came under the spotlight with the disappearance of baby Azaria Chamberlain at Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in 1980 for which her mother Lindy was convicted of murder and her father, Michael, of being an accessory.
The convictions were overturned in 1988 after the chance find of a piece of Azaria’s clothing near a dingo lair. A landmark court ruling in 2012 found that a dingo did snatch their baby from a tent.