Pradeep Pattanayak

Om Prakash, 14, a resident of Araji village under Kendrapara's Pattamundai block, is lapping up appreciations for fighting off an adult crocodile single-handedly in a river. Om, who survived the near death experience on Monday, narrated his story to OTV on Wednesday. 

“Mere recalling of the most horrific moment of my life makes my hair stand on end. It was Monday (May 30). I along with ten of my friends was enjoying a bath in Kani river. Like any other day, we were bathing in circle near the bank. Suddenly, I felt someone was pulling my right leg. I thought one of my friends was pulling my leg as we often did while bathing,” recounted Om.

After a pause, he continued, “When I looked around I could see all of my friends were on the bank and shouting ‘crocodile’… ‘crocodile’. By the time I realised I was caught by a crocodile, it had already dragged me into the deep of the river. For a second, I felt a chill running down my spine. A feeling of not being around for long crept through me.”

“The huge aquatic animal kept me in water for 15 to 20 minutes and by then I had drunk some water. After kicking it on its mouth with my left leg, I could free my right leg from its death-like jaw. But the next moment, it again caught my left leg and dragged me into the water,” narrated Om with his eyes still displaying a sense of fear.

“In the water, for around 15 minutes, I fought with the alligator. While it was trying to drag me into depths of the river, I was trying to pull back using all my might,” added Om.

“There came a moment when I felt as if all of my strength drained out. I became nervous. I thought the crocodile would devour me. I started praying gods to save me from the jaws of death. Suddenly, I felt my feet touching sand in the river. I understood I was near the bank and even a little attempt would save my life,” reminisced Om.

He further added, “Giving a last try, I tried to open its mouth wide open with my hands to free my leg and suffered injuries in the process. I could swim to the bank and was rescued by my friends and others.”

After being rescued, Om was immediately  rushed to a hospital and then shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack for better treatment. He returned home on Wednesday, only to find friends and villagers welcoming him, making him feel like a soldier returned home from a battlefield.