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“We’re lucky none of us was shot,” I added. The three of us turned to look at a sheepish- looking Tom Dooley who simply shrugged, then restarted the outboard. We proceeded downstream looking for another croc.


Twenty minutes later we rounded a bend. “There’s another one,” Russ said.


The eye was significantly larger than the little guy’s we’d caught previously. It got larger and larger the closer we got. Russ said, “Cut the engine.”


We were drifting towards it in silence now, the red eye growing bigger, bigger and bigger. Mike asked the question I had on my mind, “How big do you think it is, Russ?” “Dunno. Big. Pretty bloody big.” Twenty yards to go.


“How big is bloody big?” Mike nervously asked.


“Fourteen, 16 feet maybe. She’s big. Yeah, probably too big. Tom, start the engine!”


Tom didn’t need to be asked twice. He pulled the starter rope. Nothing. Russ yelled, “Tom, start the bleedin’ engine!” Again nothing. The eye was growing very big. “How big, Russ?”


“Eighteen feet maybe. If we ram the bastard we’ll all be screwed!”


Everyone urged in unison, “START THE BLOODY ENGINE!!!”


Ten yards and bearing down on the huge, prehistoric, soon-to-be-very-angry beast, Tom pulled on the rope in quick succession, his efforts in vain.


Russ, Mike and I began backpedaling as Tom madly pulled on the starter cord. Our small boat was on a collision course. We were dead.


Russ suddenly exclaimed, “What the bloody hell?” as we watched his light beam illuminate a red Coke can floating harmlessly in the shallows, causing a collective sigh of relief.


Tom eventually got the engine started; we released our little croc, unanimously deciding it was time to conclude a very eventful night of croc hunting.


So what CRM skills had we missed?


1. Invulnerability. 2. Machoism. 3. Unwillingness to challenge the experts.


4. Risk Shift - a group is more prone to riskier decisions than an individual.


5. Incomplete communications. Had Keith and I known the full ramifications of what we were getting ourselves into, we would have never left our croc-free camp.


Randy Mains is an author, public speaker, and an AMRM con- sultant who works in the he- licopter industry after a long career of aviation adventure. He currently serves


as chief


CRM/AMRM instructor for Oregon Aero.


He may be contacted at: info@randymains.com


rotorcraftpro.com


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