Remains of Girl, 12, Found After Crocodile Attack: ‘Devastating’

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The body of a missing 12-year-old girl feared attacked by a crocodile has been discovered by police.

The girl was reported missing on Tuesday evening local time, after swimming in a river named Mango Creek in Australia’s Northern Territory, some 220 miles southwest of the city of Darwin.

The girl’s remains showed injuries consistent with a crocodile attack, police confirmed to local media.

“It was particularly gruesome and a sad and devastating outcome,” Northern Territory Police Senior Sergeant Erica Gibson told ABC. “For the family, it is the most devastating outcome possible for them. They are in a state of extreme shock and disbelief.”

The girl’s body was found on the banks of the creek on Thursday morning. Her T-shirt had been discovered late the previous evening.

A black crocodile had been seen around the same time that the girl and her family were swimming in the river.

The incident occurred only a few miles from the remote Aboriginal community of Nganmarriyanga. Local police were assisted by 30 to 40 members of the local community in their search for the missing girl along the riverbanks, along with boats, and a helicopter also searching for any sign of her from the air.

“It was an extremely difficult 36 hours for the first responders involved in the search,” Gibson said.

The Northern Territory is home to around 100,000 crocodiles, making up half of the 200,000 crocodiles found across Australia. The territory is home to both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles, but saltwater crocs are by far the most dangerous, due to their immense size. Males can grow up to 23 feet in length, with some rare individuals exceeding that size. They can live in both saltwater and freshwater, and are found in rivers, estuaries, swamps, and coastal areas across northern and eastern Australia, as well as southeast Asia, south Asia, and many Pacific Islands.

Around 1,000 people are thought to be killed by saltwater crocodiles worldwide each year. Saltwater crocodile attacks on humans are relatively rare in Australia, with around one to two fatalities per year, according to data released by the Australian government in 2017.

The death of the girl marks the first time since 2018 that there has been a fatal crocodile attack in the Northern Territories, although a teenage boy was killed by a crocodile in Queensland earlier this year. There have been other attacks in the Northern Territory of late, however, with a 9-year-old boy being left in critical condition in January after an encounter with a crocodile.

Local police hope to capture the crocodile who attacked the young girl, setting crocodile traps along the waterway.

“It is a salient reminder to everyone that waterways in the territory could always have crocodiles in them,” Gibson said.

This article by Jess Thomson was first published by Newsweek on 4 July 2024. Lead Image: Stock image of a saltwater crocodile. The body of a 12-year-old girl who was attacked by a crocodile has been discovered in Australia. ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS.

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