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Australian man feared dead after 'monster' crocodile attack

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

An Australian camper is feared dead after a crocodile attack. Horrified onlookers saw the 24-year-old man swim across a muddy river to be snatched away by the fearsome reptile, police say.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The victim was swimming with a friend near the Mary River Wilderness Retreat, about 80 miles east of Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory.

The two men swam to the middle of the muddy river and were on their way back when the crocodile lunged, taking the victim below the surface. The suspected creature, a saltwater crocodiles, can grow up to 23 feet long and weigh more than a ton. They are commonly found in Australia's tropical north.

The man was reportedly celebrating his friend's 30th birthday at the outback tourist destination, Senior Sergeant Geoff Bahnert told journalists.

"Several of the group in the party witnessed the male being taken in the jaws of the croc for a period of time, and then he was out of sight," 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.

Faulty judgment triggered by alcohol may have played a part in the decision to swim, he said.

"We do actually tell all our guests not to swim and to stay at least five meters back from the edge of the bank," Erin Bayard, an employee of the resort where the group was staying, told reporters. She says that crocodiles were very common in the Mary River.

The last fatal crocodile attack in the Northern Territory was in December 2012, when a nine-year-old boy was taken by a saltwater crocodile near Dhania, south of Nhulunbuy, NT News said.

In response, police in northern Australia said they had killed several crocodiles that posed a risk to rescuers searching for the body of the local man dragged under while swimming earlier.

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