DARWIN, Australia – A crocodile attacked and killed a 14-year-old boy who was swimming in a creek in an Outback Aboriginal community, police said Monday.
Police, park rangers and residents spent Monday combing the remote area for any trace of the boy, who was attacked while playing in the creek with his brothers in the Northern Territory's Milingimbi community, east of Darwin, on Sunday.
Northern Territory police Superintendent Helen Braam said officials were interviewing the young Aboriginal witnesses, who speak limited English, to get more information on what happened.
"As you can imagine, the community is quite devastated and shocked by what's happened," Braam said.
Both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles were hunted to near extinction in Australia, but have become plentiful in the tropical north since they became protected by federal law in 1971.
The Northern Territory is estimated to have more than 80,000 saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to 23 feet (seven meters) long and are the world's largest reptile. They are far more likely to attack humans than the smaller freshwater crocodiles that also live in the region.