Fears boy taken by crocodile in Australia

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SYDNEY—Police were Saturday searching for a 12-year-old boy believed to have been taken by a crocodile while swimming in northern Australia.

The boy was attacked as he swam with a group of people at Port Bradshaw, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the town of Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory, police said.

“Initial reports suggest adults within in the group tried to save the boy by spearing the animal, but the crocodile dragged the child out to deeper water,” police Superintendent Michael White said in a statement.

“Officers from Nhulunbuy Police Station are currently at the scene of the attack and searching for the boy and the crocodile.”

White said the tragic incident highlighted the dangers of swimming in waterways in northern Australia.

The latest attack comes just two weeks after a seven-year-old girl was feared killed by a crocodile at a waterhole at an outstation about 340 kilometers (210 miles) east of the city of Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory.

Police searching the waterhole shot dead a three-meter (10-foot) crocodile and an examination of the animal revealed what were believed to be human remains in its stomach.

Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven meters long and weigh more than a tonne, are a common feature of Australia’s tropical north.

They have been protected since the 1970s and their numbers have increased steadily since, along with the number of human encounters.

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