Human remains found after crocodile attack

January 29, 2014 - 6:24:19 am
SYDNEY: Police reportedly found human remains yesterday in the search for a 12-year-old boy snatched by a crocodile in northern Australia, and scaled back operations to a body recovery mission.

Police would not go into details but acting commander Michael White said they had found “evidence within the search area which strongly indicates the boy has died from the crocodile attack.” “Further DNA testing will be conducted to confirm the identification,” White said. 

“No specifics will be given in relation to the trauma or type of evidence located out of respect for the family. This is now an investigation for the Northern Territory coroner and a brief will be prepared.” Local media reports said the “evidence” cited by White was human remains.  

Police on the scene said the operation had now entered a “search and recovery” stage following confirmation of the boy’s death. “We’re looking for a body at the moment, it’s very sad,” a spokeswoman said.

Three crocodiles have been shot and cut open under a shoot-to-kill order for any crocodile larger than two metres sighted around Mudginberri Outstation, which is about 200km east of Darwin in the Kakadu National Park.

The boy was taken while swimming with friends in the Mudginberri Billabong on Sunday. A second boy, aged 15, managed to fight the creature off and received three stitches for deep bites on his right arm. His wounds led rangers to estimate that the animal responsible for the attack was between two and three metres long.

The attack has rocked the small Mudginberri community of about 50 people who live outside the mining town of Jabiru. “We are a very big family and a very close family,” an aunt of the missing boy told the Northern Territory News.  The attack has sparked calls for a crocodile cull by the local indigenous people, the Mirarr.  

Saltwater crocodiles can grow up to seven metres long. Their numbers have increased steadily since the introduction of protection laws in 1971, with government estimates putting the population at 75,000-100,000.

Researchers launched the world’s first crocodile attack database, CrocBITE, last month, hoping to firm up anecdotal reports that harmful or fatal incidents are increasing. AFP

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