A couple were attacked by a vicious kangaroo in South Australia on Wednesday 25 May while cycling on the popular Reisling Trail in Clare Valley in South Australia. Sharon Heinrich and Helen Salter were pounced on by the angry marsupial along their path while enjoying their ride through trail.
The 45-year old Heinrich suffered three cracked ribs in the attack, while her 47-year-old friend on the trip was left concussed following the ordeal, according to the Northern Argus. Mrs Heinrich, who was also left covered in grazes and scratch marks, had initially thought the animal was harmless when they encountered it on the trail.
"Just out of the corner of my eye I've seen this kangaroo up on this ledge," she told the Australian Associated Press (AAP). I thought 'he's cute' and then he jumped on top of me and used me to launch off and onto my girlfriend.
Heinrich believed the kangaroo was a male buck, judging by its size. "I'm 5ft 4in and he was taller than me, and so heavy," she told the Northern Argus newspaper. "Once he landed on me, he used me to launch off again, which caused more damage."
Heinrich, who lives locally, said she would require surgery to fix the injuries.
"When the surgeon saw me in Adelaide he said I was lucky to be alive – kangaroos are solid muscle and incredibly powerful," she told the Argus. "When he landed he went completely through me, if he had become caught in the bike the outcome would be a lot different."
"We flew probably one-and-a-half metres after he hit us. I was on the ground and couldn't breathe for about 10 minutes. I couldn't talk. Helen [Heinrich's friend] got up and she stayed with me until I could breathe, got on my bike and rode to a business about half a kilometre away."
Heinrich told the Northern Argus she was "lucky to be alive" following the attack and also thanked the local business who called an ambulance for them.
But Heinrich warned that tourists should be made more aware of the danger of kangaroos along the popular trail. "I really think there needs to be signs placed along the trail to warn people about them," she said. "They jump without warning and at the last minute – people need to be careful."
Experts say that kangaroo attacks on humans are very rare, but can become quite territorial as the boundaries between human and animal territory are becoming increasingly blurred.
Earlier this month, Andy Jones, an AA mechanic was shocked to find a baby kangaroo in the back of a car he was repairing. The surprise encounter took place as he fixed a broken down Renault Kangoo in the village of Pattingham, Staffordshire.