The teenager who jumped into a croc-infested river in far north Queensland has explained he "was just trying to prove a point" as he recovers in Cairns Hospital.
18-year-old Lee De Paauw recounted his close call with a croc, telling Nine News he thought "f--- ... I'm gone for sure" when the crocodile first latched onto his arm on Sunday morning.
It all started just before 2.30am, when Mr De Paauw leapt into the Johnstone River at Innisfail to impress English backpacker Sophie Paterson, who he had just met.
"I started tell them about how backpackers are more likely to get eaten by a crocodile than Australians, so we decided to go down to the river and test the theory," he said.
A crocodile, who was reportedly well-known in the area and about three metres in size, almost instantly attacked the teen, grabbing his arm and dragging him across the water.
"It started shaking it's head and carrying on," Mr De Paauw said.
The teenager survived the attack by punching the crocodile's snout and gouging it's eye, which caused it to release the victim's arm.
"I swam back to the stairs with one floppy arm and pulled myself out," Mr De Paauw said.
Ms Paterson said she had "never heard a guy scream like that".
Mr De Paauw went into surgery at Cairns Hospital and won't lose his arm, instead left with two broken bones.
His message for those Australians criticising his decision was simple: "Haters gonna hate".
However, Mr De Paauw has learned one lesson from the ordeal, telling Nova FM's Fitzy and Wippa he wouldn't jump back into the river.
Mr De Paauw was expected to spend the week in hospital recovering.
Meanwhile, the hunt began for the killer crocodile thought to be responsible for the death of a spear fisherman, whose body was found just north of Innisfail on Monday morning.
With Rachel Clun, Jorge Branco and AAP