BRUISED, slashed and bitten, one of the two fishos who spent two days clinging to a tree for two days above circling crocs has told of the terrifying moment he chose to swim 50m for the supplies which eventually saved his life.

Durack's Jordan Kelsey was stranded up a tree in the middle of the swollen South and East Alligator rivers for two days and two nights with his mate Jake Williams after their second-hand boat took on water during the change of tides.

It was just the second time he had taken the tinny out, after a test run on Saturday.

They made a dash from the overturned tinny to the relative safety of a tree where they stayed until they were finally rescued on Wednesday.

Mr Kelsey said he nearly drowned after desperately swimming 50m through water, home to huge crocodiles, to get supplies from the boat.

"I got hooked under the boat, trying to get supplies … I probably tried (to get to the boat) three or four times over the two days," he said.

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The pair had managed to get a hold of some flares but they didn't prove effective after being lit because of the proximity of the trees.

Operating on no sleep, Mr Kelsey fell into the water twice after giving in to exhaustion.

And it attracted attention from the rivers' most fearsome residents.

The pair saw three large crocodiles while they were stranded, including one watching and waiting on the banks and another 3.5m beast circling at the base of the tree they were precariously perched in.

"That one came after I had already fallen out twice," he said.

But his heart-stopping decision to swim back to the boat eventually saved his and his mate's lives.

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They used foam from a fire extinguisher salvaged from the boat to attract the attention of two search helicopters looking for them.

"(The extinguisher) worked much better than the flares … they just went all over the place," Mr Kelsey said.

Everything else, including their phones and a EPIRB, were washed away.

Kakadu National Park rangers rescued the pair after they were spotted by the choppers.

They were met by Careflight at the Alligator River boat ramp before being flown to Royal Darwin Hospital where they were treated for severe mosquito and sand fly bites and dehydration.

Mr Kelsey told the NT News he wanted to put the horrifying incident behind him.

His mother Janine Kelsey was happy to have her son home, saying it was "the worst day of our lives" and said she had kept in touch with Mr Williams's mother, who said he was also doing well.

The pair returned to hospital on Friday for a check-up.

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