Croc seen lurking in bay area where woman went missing
A THREE- metre crocodile was reportedly seen by police in Missionary Bay on the same day a Melbourne woman went missing from the Hinchinbrook Island area.
Leisha O’Donnell, 52, fell overboard from a houseboat and was reported missing by her husband nine days ago, sparking an extensive search around the island.
Where Mrs O’Donnell disappeared is a known crocodile habitat and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection confirmed they did investigate an animal sighting.
“Wildlife officers … assisted Queensland police in the search for a missing woman at Missionary Bay,” an EHP spokeswoman said.
“This followed a report from police that a 3m crocodile was seen during their search operation on Sunday, June 12.
“There has been no confirmation that a crocodile has been involved ( in the disappearance).”
Police yesterday would not confirm whether the crocodile sighting was being pursued as part of the investigation.
Meanwhile, wildlife officers are continuing the hunt for a 4m crocodile last seen at the Townsville marina on June 7, despite closing the door on all deployed traps. An EHP spokeswoman said search efforts have included the area south of Townsville.
But she said there had been no confirmation of the animal’s presence, which could be due to the reptile “moving on or passing away”.
“Wildlife officers have conducted two helicopter surveys of the area in recent days and are monitoring local waterways by boat just about every day,” the spokeswoman said.
“There are traps in place at a number of locations but due to the cold weather these are currently closed.
“Crocodiles do not metabolise food very quickly when they are cold and they are therefore not interested in baited traps.”
Crocodile sightings can be reported to EHP on 1300 130 372. The department investigates all reports it receives.