A father saved his son after a dingo dragged the sleeping toddler from his bed in a campervan in Australia on Thursday night.
The family had been sleeping inside the vehicle on Fraser Island in Queensland when the child’s parents woke to the sounds of their son’s cries, which were “becoming more distant”, according to the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) LifeFlight Rescue.
The boy’s father rushed outside and discovered his 14-month-old son some distance away with his head in the mouth of the dingo. Other dingoes were lurking nearby.
He fought off the wild dogs and called emergency services, who rushed to the popular holiday spot of Eurong Beach. The child was flown by helicopter to Hervey Bay Hospital at 12.40am.
He was in a stable condition but had a fractured skull and severe puncture wounds to his leg and upper body, according to local media.
Lifeflight pilot Frank Bertoli said the quick thinking from the parents saved the toddler from a worse fate.
"I think he made his way under the canvas to get into the camper trailer," he told ABC News.
"It’s pretty horrific to hear something like that come over the phone and we just wanted to get there to be able to help.
"They said that the main dingo was surrounded by others."
There has been a spate of alarming dingo attacks at Fraser Island this year.
A French mother and her child were attacked last month after being chased by dingoes as they tried to run to the safety of their car.
In January, a six-year-old boy was taken to hospital after being bitten by a dingo when he ran up a sand dune.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service’s website warns tourists to take precautions outside of the fenced areas, such as staying in groups, keeping children within arm’s reach and not running, as it attracts dingoes.
Dingoes are a protected species on Fraser Island, as they are considered important for the local ecosystem.
A child was killed by dingos on Fraser Island in 2001, and his brother seriously injured.
It was the only fatal dingo attack recorded since the infamous disappearance of nine-week-old Azaria Chamberlain in 1980 at Uluru in the Northern Territory.
The baby disappeared during a family camping trip and her parents Lindy and Michael Chamberlain claimed she had been snatched by a dingo.
Her body was never found and Mrs Chamberlain was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1982.
She spent more than three years behind bars before a piece of Azaria’s clothing was found near a dingo lair and a new inquest was opened.
It wasn’t until 2012 — 32 years after her disappearance — that the Chamberlains’ claims were supported by a coroner.
Experts believe dingoes will attack humans if there is a scarcity of food, which can be common during times of drought.