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Injured Qld teen wishes croc a happy life

A Queensland teenager recovering in hospital after trying to impress a girl by swimming in croc-infested waters says he wants the saltie which attacked him to "have a happy life".

Lee De Paauw underwent surgery for gruesome wounds to his arm after he leapt into the Johnstone River at Innisfail just before 2.30am on Sunday.

But the 18-year-old has said he doesn't want the crocodile who savaged him to suffer for it.

"I don't want that crocodile harmed. I want it to have a happy life," he told the Nine Network from his hospital bed.

He said he understood that people thought he was stupid but insisted he was just "trying to prove a point".

"Haters gonna hate," he said.

Earlier in the day, the teen did appear to have learnt his lesson when asked on Sydney radio if he would jump into the river again.

"No, I wouldn't. I've been in that river before, you know? And I didn't expect it to happen," the teen told Nova FM.

But the stunt may have worked. He told Nova "I got her number and her name is Sophie."

British backpacker Sophie Paterson said Mr De Paauw had been boasting at a local hostel he was willing to take a night-time dip in the river - a known crocodile habitat.

Within seconds of leaping from the Innisfail esplanade wharf, he was engaged in the fight of his life when a croc took him in its jaws.

"He was talking about the local creek saying 'I can swim out' and so we said 'go on then', but we didn't think he would do it," Ms Paterson has told The Courier-Mail.

"It all happened very fast, pretty much as soon as he jumped in, there was splashing and screaming. There was blood everywhere and he just wouldn't stop screaming."

The teen was incredibly lucky to have freed himself from the croc's jaws before it went into a death roll and drowned him, paramedics say.

He is now expected to spend the week in hospital recovering.

Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said locals should understand the dangers of living in croc country.

"Most people have got common sense ... we can't legislate to protect dickheads," he told the newspaper.

Brenton Gangemi, who owns local wildlife cruise company Snapping Tours, said he believed the croc was a three-and-a-half to four metre male saltwater crocodile frequenting the area recently.

Rangers are trying to locate the croc believed responsible for the latest attack in a bid to capture and remove it.

© AAP 2017