An elderly couple has been attacked in Australia by a goanna (a large lizard), as they tried to stop it from savaging their dog, emergency officials say.
The man, in his 70s, was said to have sustained significant injuries and was airlifted to hospital after the incident in north-eastern Queensland.
The woman, in her 60s, was also taken to hospital with an injury to her foot.
The couple’s dog, a long-haired Jack Russell cross, was seriously injured.
Goannas can grow up to 2m (6.5ft) in length, though most varieties are under 1m, and rarely attack humans.
The rescue service described the attack which took place in Flametree near Airlie Beach, as “a horrific and freak ordeal”.
“The man suffered a very serious laceration and possible fracture of his right forearm as well as severe bleeding from his leg wound. He was in considerable pain,” ABC News quotes an ambulance worker as saying.
“The patients are quite lucky not to have been more seriously injured given that goannas can be quite savage,” another ambulance worker told ABC, adding: “It doesn’t happen every day, that’s for sure.”
The dog was earlier reported to have died, but ABC later reported that it had survived the attack.