Massive search underway for child feared taken by crocodile while swimming

Massive search underway for child feared taken by crocodile while swimming

A massive search is underway in northern Australia for a 12-year-old child officials suspect is a victim of a crocodile attack.

The child went missing around 5.30pm on Tuesday after a swim near the remote Northern Territory community of Palumpa, located about 350km from the capital city of Darwin, police said on Wednesday morning.

NT police said "initial reports stated the child had been attacked by a crocodile" during a swim at Mango Creek. They said search and rescue teams were looking for the child.

Senior Sgt Erica Gibson said her thoughts were with the family and that they are searching in a large section.

“Officers are currently searching a large section of the creek via boat and we thank the community for their ongoing assistance,” she said.

The NT is a federal territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia.

The members of the community in Palumpa arrived on the scene in the afternoon and joined the rescue operation with the police.

An aerial search could be launched for the child, local media said.

It is home to around 100,000 saltwater crocodiles that are known to be larger and more dangerous to humans.

The whole estimated population of NT is 252,469 people while Palumpa has just 364 people, according to federal data.

Last month, a crocodile terrorising the residents of NT was killed and eaten by villagers. The 3.6m (11.8ft) reptile was blamed for devouring pets and chasing children. The authorities deemed it a “significant risk to the community”.

Police said they shot the crocodile after consultation with traditional owners, elders, community members and Parks and Wildlife.

In January, A nine-year-old boy was left fighting for life after being attacked by a crocodile while swimming in Australia.

Last year an Australian man dramatically escaped an attack by a saltwater crocodile after prising its jaws off his head.

Marcus McGowan, 51, from Brisbane, was snorkelling at a luxury private island resort on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia when he was attacked.

This article was amended on 4 July 2024. It had initially referred to a missing boy, as reported by many news outlets. The article was subsequently updated to reflect the official statement from the authorities, which does not state the gender of the missing child.