He abandoned his car. He was swimming to the other side of the road when he first felt like he was being stalked.
His heart sank as he realized something might be in the water. He frantically looked around the murky water as he searched for any signs of danger. Then he felt something touch his leg.
American-native, Brayden Burke was traveling through Australia on a once-in-a-lifetime solo trip when he found himself in a life-threatening situation.
It was just another day on his travel itinerary. He timed everything perfectly because he wanted to see everything. Little did he know, he was about to get much more than he bargained for.
Traveling alone through remote areas of Australia, Brayden liked to be organized. He liked to know how long one distance of road would take him to the next. And he liked to stay on course and on time. It was this mindset that left him knocking at death’s door.
Brayden was traveling through the northern territory of Australia’s outback when disaster struck.
With the windows down, music blaring, and sun hitting the road paved out ahead, freedom never tasted so good. It was his third week road tripping around Australia. The first two weeks were a little hard, everything was so new to him but now, now he was well and truly used to the simple life.
His new lifestyle would only last for another four weeks, so he was going to soak up every minute of it. But that’s not all he’d soak up.
Brayden was traveling through Kakadu National Park. It was breathtakingly beautiful. He stopped the car multiple times to take a closer look at the rivers, mountains, and animals he stumbled upon.
But now, he was in a race against time, he needed to make his next lodging in time before it was too late. But just as he hit the gas, a daunting view came into sight.
Suddenly, he hit the breaks. The car came to a tumbling halt as Brayden watched the road ahead get swallowed up by a big murky river.
He edged the car forward. He looked at his watch as he debated how long he could wait for the river’s tide to hopefully go back down. But time wasn’t on Brayden’s side.
He crept forward again and stopped just before the water’s edge. He got out to access the situation. He looked at the vanishing road, the strong-looking river, and then back in the direction of where he came.
The drive back was too far, but most importantly, it was getting dark and he didn’t want to get lost out here when night fell. He didn’t have a choice.
What consoled him most was that the river didn’t seem too deep. Someone had stuck a measuring pole in the road that indicated that the water would only reach over his tires.
He decided he didn’t have time to waste. He started the engine and began to crawl into the river, following the rocks along his left-hand side. It was the decision that changed his life.
Brayden first knew he was in trouble when the car suddenly swayed in the direction of the current. Then his car lifted and launched itself between the rocks beside him. His heart began to race as he realized he was stuck.
However, as a strong swimmer, he tried not to panic. He grabbed everything he could and climbed out into the murky current. But his nightmare was just beginning.
Somehow, the water had risen. Brayden was half walking, half swimming his way to the other side of the road when he first saw something from the corner of his eye.
It was big and dark but when he turned, nothing was there. His heart sank as he realized something might be in the water. When the same thing happened again, he was certain he was being stalked.
Now, Brayden was panicking. He knew something wasn’t right. He frantically looked around the water’s surface as he searched for any signs of danger.
His heart pounded as he worked hard to fight the current and make it out of the water faster. He was nearly on the other side when he felt something touch his leg.
Brayden jerked his leg away and dived out of the water to the other side. He ran up the road and looked back on what he later realized was a notoriously famous crocodile-infested river.
The stretch of road Brayden was attempting to cross was called Cahill’s Crossing. It’s categorized as one of the world’s deadliest crossings. What makes it so deadly is not only its powerful current but also exactly what Brayden saw that day.
Although the crossing is only a few metres wide, it’s sudden-changing tides and water flow are strong enough to overturn vehicles. Brayden was just one of many drivers whose capable skills were no match for its whimsical temperament.
But once a passerby no longer has the protection of a car, that’s when the river really shows its teeth. Literally. All 120 of them.
Unfortunately, many backpackers, photographers, children and fishermen have lost their lives to the many crocodiles that call this river home.
This is what crocodile expert, Grahame Webb had to say about the river; “for every crocodile you can see, there are ten you can’t see”. Safe to say, Brayden was very lucky to come out unscathed. Do people still cross the river today?
Yes. This scenic drive and infamous river attract hundreds of tourists every year, including drivers like Brayden who test their fate. To locals around the area, Brayden’s terrifying experience was just another familiar sight.
The reason a bridge hasn’t been built yet or in the future is due to its location within a protected park and nature reserve. Looks like tourists are going to have to be a lot more careful from now on!