Fish­er­man likely killed by croc, say Aussie cops

New Straits Times - - World -

SYD­NEY: A fish­er­man whose body was pulled from the wa­ter was likely killed by a large croc­o­dile, po­lice said, af­ter his empty dinghy and spear­gun were found in north­ern Aus­tralia.

The 35-year-old was fish­ing alone off In­n­is­fail, south of Cairns in Queens­land state.

He was re­ported miss­ing on Sun­day evening when the boat and float­ing spear­gun, which was pierced through a fish, were dis­cov­ered.

An aerial and wa­ter search was launched with a body re­trieved on Mon­day morn­ing.

“Ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions sug­gest the man may have been taken by a croc­o­dile,” Queens­land po­lice said.

The po­lice added that they be­lieved it was a 4m-long beast.

“Wildlife of­fi­cers from the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion are tar­get­ing the croc­o­dile for re­moval.”

The Cairns Post re­ported an ag­gres­sive croc­o­dile, thought to be the same one, at­tacked a po­lice boat late Sun­day.

In­spec­tor Rhys New­ton was quoted as say­ing that the in­ci­dent was in­dica­tive of be­hav­iour when the rep­tile had killed re­cently or was pro­tect­ing a food source.

It was the sec­ond blow in a month to the lo­cal spearfish­ing com­mu­nity af­ter a man re­cently had his leg ripped off by a shark at nearby Hinch­in­brook Is­land, the news­pa­per said.

The lat­est tragedy came only a day af­ter a teenager es­caped the jaws of a croc­o­dile by punch­ing it in the head dur­ing a late night swim in a river close to In­n­is­fail.

The 18-year-old suf­fered ex­ten­sive in­juries to his left arm af­ter be­ing dared to jump in by his friends.

Aus­tralia is home to fresh­wa­ter and salt­wa­ter crocodiles with the more feared “sal­ties” grow­ing up to 7m long.

Salt­wa­ter croc­o­dile num­bers have ex­ploded since they were de­clared a pro­tected species in 1971.

Re­cent at­tacks have reignited debate about con­trol­ling the pop­u­la­tion of the species.

They kill an av­er­age of two peo­ple each year in Aus­tralia. AFP

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