Schoolgirl attacked by roos

BOXING:  Jade Bassett was left scarred after trying to fight off kangaroos.  Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

BOXING: Jade Bassett was left scarred after trying to fight off kangaroos. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

TWO kangaroos pinned Jade Bassett in the scrub and clawed her body for 25 minutes.

The 13-year-old threw herself face down in a ditch to try to get away, but the kangaroos continued to attack, in bushland at Oakhampton.

She put her legs together and kicked upwards to fight them off, but the roos jumped forward and gouged her legs.

The Rutherford teenager had tried to outrun them but they trapped her. 

One of the eastern greys rose on its legs and kicked her, knocking her to the ground. She got up, but a kangaroo  pulled her backwards by the hair. Then the other hit her stomach with its front claws.

If her grandfather Kevin Henderson had not been nearby and startled them with his screams and a large stick, Jade’s injuries could have been a lot worse. Her grandmother Carol said it was a miracle that Jade didn’t get her eyes scratched out.

Jade and her grandfather went to Walka Water Works on Tuesday at 5pm so she could use the jogging track.

BOXING: 13 year old Rutherford girl Jade Bassett was viciously attacked by a group of Grey Kangaroos yesterday while jogging at Walka Water Works outside Maitland. Credit: Max Mason-Hubers MMH.

BOXING: 13 year old Rutherford girl Jade Bassett was viciously attacked by a group of Grey Kangaroos yesterday while jogging at Walka Water Works outside Maitland. Credit: Max Mason-Hubers MMH.

 It was the first time she had been able to run in five months because she suffers from vocal cord dysfunction and had been undergoing treatment to strengthen her respiratory system.

She had been running for two or three minutes when she encountered three buck kangaroos about 1.6metres tall

‘‘They were standing on the track and wouldn’t move when I got closer so I went around them,’’ she said. ‘‘I was about five metres away from them when one started following me. I ran to one side of the track thinking it would move past me, but it kept following me.

‘‘It kicked me and I fell on my back. I tried to push its legs away and it bit my hand and grabbed at my chest and face. It was on top of me and it was so strong.

‘‘When I ran back to the main track, another kangaroo hit me on the head and the back.

‘‘I had a kangaroo on the side of me and one in front of me.

‘‘They were hissing and grunting and showing their teeth, then they scratched me.

‘‘I couldn’t reach their face because they were so tall.’’

Jade’s legs and chest bore the brunt. Some of the puncture marks and scratches are deep.

BOXING:  Jade Bassett was left scarred after trying to fight off kangaroos like this one at Oakhampton.  Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

BOXING: Jade Bassett was left scarred after trying to fight off kangaroos like this one at Oakhampton. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

Concerned that someone else might be attacked, she urged people to be careful of kangaroos.

The attack was inevitable according to Ray Ellicott who has lived in Oakhampton for more than 50 years.

He warned council workers at Walka Water Works a few years ago when the local kangaroo population kept increasing.

‘‘Some of those big bucks are two metres high,’’ Mr Ellicott said.

‘‘They are dangerous and they will attack.’’

There are about 400 eastern grey kangaroos living in scrub near Walka Water Works, according to Oakhampton residents.

Males weigh about 70kilograms and females around half that.

They are visible at dawn and dusk and have been sighted along the Hunter River, at the Belmore Bridge, and at Hungry Jacks and the Rutherford soccer fields on the New England Highway.

Oakhampton residents believe housing developments in Aberglasslyn are forcing kangaroos, which once grazed on that land, to move into Oakhampton.

National Parks and Wildlife personnel and Maitland City Council’s ranger will visit the attack site today.

Maitland City Council’s community and recreation services manager Lyn Morton thought this was the first time an attack had happened at Walka Water Works.

She said the council would erect signs at the site to warn people to look out for kangaroos. 

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