The 54-year-old was sitting having a sandwich at an outdoor barbecue area — a designated safe eating place — at the Telfer Mine on Wednesday when a young dingo approached, her family says.
Knowing the animal would likely try to take the food, and that feeding dingoes results in instant dismissal from the site, she put her food in a rubbish bin.
Her family says as she was doing that, the dingo took off with her mobile phone.
She followed and saw the phone discarded in a bush.
Her family said she decided not to grab the phone when she saw two other dingoes nearby and instead turned to walk away.
Her family said that was when the three dingoes launched their attack, biting her legs and arms as she tried desperately to stay on her feet and screamed for help.
“She had bites everywhere but her head,” relatives said. “She said she was screaming for help for nearly 10 minutes before somebody came and helped get the dogs off her ... we’re not sure how.”
She was treated at the mine by a first aid worker before being taken to Perth for treatment and was last night in a serious but stable condition.
She has had two operations at Royal Perth Hospital and will need plastic surgery. Her family are not yet sure if she will fully recover from her injuries.
The woman was at Telfer doing security work for a shut-down at the gold and copper mine.
Her family said they were grateful she was alive and had not ended up on the ground during the attack.
“If they got her down they would have gone for the throat,” her family said.
They said they had been devastated to see the extent of her injuries and have spoken out to warn anyone working or travelling in remote parts of WA about the risk posed by dingoes.
Problems with dingoes in remote north-west mine sites and towns have been well documented, with authorities saying the native animals are attracted by the water and food supplies.
Trials have been done in the Telfer township using Maremma dogs to try to warn off the dingos and prevent interactions with people.
This article originally appeared on PerthNow.