Sarah Derecourt was catching tiny fish at the back of her house which overlooks the water, when a passing swan attacked her.

“I turned around it jumped onto me.

“It was kicking me and bit me on the back, I tripped on my whitebait net and fell into the river,” Ms Derecourt told Fairfax News.

“Then it jumped on top of me and grabbed my neck with its beak.

“Then it started pushing me under water with its feet.”

The harrowing encounter was witnessed by a family across the water who did nothing to help, and two of Ms Derecourt’s friends who eventually helped her to safety.

The swan has a formidable reputation among locals and whitebaiters who’ve witnessed several other attacks.

The swan’s belligerence may stem from a dog attack it was subject to, leaving it needing veterinary care.

Image via ThinkStock