August 2005
Steve's Flying Visit To See Fearless Granny!

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The Sunday Mail, August 2005


News Source: The Sunday Mail, August 28, 2005

CROCODILE Hunter Steve Irwin has a willing new sidekick if he’s ever looking.

Fearless croc-wrestling granny Alicia Sorohan says she would join Irwin on his expeditions any day.

“I’d like to be his offsider,” Mrs Sorohan, 61, joked yesterday.

The two famous crocodile wrestlers came together on Friday for the inaugural Sunday Mail/Courier-Mail Pride of Australia awards, in which Irwin had been one of the judges.

Mrs Sorohan was awarded the bravery medal for jumping on a 300kg, 4.2m crocodile as it dragged away friend Andrew Kerr during a far north Queensland camping trip last year.

The crocodile let go of Mr Kerr and turned on Mrs Sorohan, almost severing her right arm before her son, Jason, leapt on the creature’s back and shot it dead. There were fears Mrs Sorohan might lose her arm.

Irwin had been on the back of a 4m crocodile in Cape York’s Lakefield National Park only hours before the awards, installing a tracking device.

“I had to jump off and jump on a plane at the ranger’s station airfield, flew straight down and walked off the plane into the awards ceremony,” Irwin said.

“I was in the clothes I was in, but no one noticed,” he said. “They were the cleanest khakis I had.”

Irwin had previously welcomed Mrs Sorohan to his Sunshine Coast wildlife park as a special guest.

“You would think that after the ordeal she’s been through that she would be very, very wary and have a stand-off approach to crocodiles,” he said.

“But she’s not, she’s the exact opposite. She’s intrigued and fascinated by them. My whole family loves her.”

Almost 1000 people were nominated for the awards, with 10 winners chosen from 30 finalists.

“When we first heard about it, we thought how great it was that ordinary Australians are recognized,” Mrs Sorohan said. “It’s usually business people or stars or professional people and you don’t hear about the ordinary person.”

And just in case anyone thinks the brave granny is made of steel, she’s willing to admit to a few fears.

"Crocodiles and lizards, I love them," she said. "But you know what I’m frightened of? Spiders and grasshoppers and beetles and stick insects."