Is another giant of the deep lurking at Lake Placid?
THE woman dubbed the mermaid of Lake Placid has questioned if a terrifying crocodile attack was a case of mistaken identity despite overwhelming evidence suggesting otherwise.
Linda-Joy Schipke, 53, has refused to concede a saltwater croc was responsible for a frightening ordeal on Thursday which saw a man admitted to hospital suffering puncture wounds to his head, face and jaws, despite wildlife rangers saying there was little doubt a croc was responsible.
She believes the injuries were more likely caused by a giant eel known to swim in the Caravonica waterway.
"At the moment the jury is out," she said.
"The injuries seem a bit superficial and I'm more inclined to think it could have been a large eel, not a croc.
"I've had giant eels sneak up on me before, they are well over a metre long, even bigger, and give a nasty bite."
It's not the first time an eel has been used to explain mysteries of the deep.
New Zealand professor Neil Gemmell, from the University of Otago, claimed last year that the legend of Scotland's Loch Ness monster was sparked by sightings of "giant eels."
Critical care paramedic Paul Sweeney said the 44-year-old man was lucky to be alive following yesterday's attack with an animal having "bitten his head with jaws either side."
Wildlife Rangers from the Department of Environment and Science are currently searching the lake for the reptile.
Ms Schipke said the available evidence of crocodiles would not stop her from swimming in the lake.
"The only thing that would deter me is if I was dead," she said,
"I love Lake Placid and I have stood up for it ever since it was likened to an American horror movie.
"Even if there are crocs in that system they don't hang around very long. They are not out to eat humans
"It's a lovely place to swim and I've never felt scared at all and I've been swimming there all my life."
Ms Schipke, who now lives in Aloomba, said her last swim at Lake Placid was in October and said anyone getting in the water "needed to be calm."
"Steve Irwin used to go into nature too aggressively and try scoop animals up for the camera," she said.
"If you live by the sword then you die by the sword."
Originally published as Is another giant of the deep lurking at Lake Placid?