DARWIN, Australia – A 47-year-old man has been killed by crocodile while trying to cross a flooded river in northern Australian wilderness, police said Friday.
The man had been wading through the East Alligator River in the Northern Territory with two women on Thursday when he disappeared near the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, a police statement said.
The women made it across safely then reported the man missing.
Police and rangers found the body downstream late Thursday near a 3.3-meter (11-foot) crocodile.
The crocodile was shot dead and the body taken to the city of Darwin for an autopsy.
The three lived in a nearby Aboriginal community, according to media reports.
The tragedy is the first fatal crocodile attack since a 46-year-old woman was taken during a late night swim in the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park in Queensland state in May last year.
Since crocodiles became a protected species under federal law in 1971, crocodile numbers in the Northern Territory have exploded from 3,000 to an estimated 80,000 to 100,000.
Because saltwater crocodiles can live up 70 years and grow throughout their lives, reaching up to 7 meters (23 feet), the proportion of large crocodiles is also rising.