Body of young man recovered after Australia crocodile attack
Alcohol may have played part in decision to swim in river well-known for the predators
Sean Cole and a friend were swimming across the Northern Territory’s Mary River when the 15ft crocodile clamped its jaws around Mr Cole’s chest on Saturday afternoon, as 15 friends watched in horror from the bank. File photograph: Australia Zoo/PA Wire
The bodies of a 26-year-old swimmer and the crocodile that killed him in a notorious Outback river at the weekend have been recovered by Australian police.
Sean Cole and a friend were swimming across the Northern Territory’s Mary River when the 15ft crocodile clamped its jaws around Mr Cole’s chest on Saturday afternoon, as 15 friends watched in horror from the bank.
Northern Territory wildlife ranger Tom Nichols said Mr Cole’s body and the dead crocodile floated to the surface early today. The crocodile had been shot by rangers within hours of the attack on Saturday night, but had sunk before it could be retrieved.
The spot is a notorious habitat for the dangerous reptiles.
Mr Cole had been celebrating a friend’s 30th birthday at the Mary River Wilderness Retreat, an outback tourist destination over 100km southeast of the Northern Territory capital Darwin, the victim’s hometown, senior sergeant Geoff Bahnert said.
“Several of the group in the party witnessed the [then unidentified] male being taken in the jaws of the croc for a period of time, and then he was out of sight,” Mr Bahnert said.
“The Mary River is known worldwide to have the greatest saturation of adult saltwater crocodiles in the world. You don’t swim in the Mary River,” he said.
Alcohol may have played a part in the decision to swim, he said.
Police and a government crocodile management team arrived at the resort late on Saturday, and an officer shot one of the largest crocodiles found in the area for the safety of searchers, he said.
“The advice to tourists is to come, look, take photographs and stay out of the water,” Mr Bahnert added.
Crocodile numbers have exploded across Australia’s tropical north since the species was protected by federal law in 1971. The crocodile population is densest in the Northern Territory and is promoted as a major tourist attraction.