Crocodile Attack During Birthday Party Leaves Australian Dead

Monday, 26 Aug 2013 06:54 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A fatal  Crocodile attack during a birthday party along an Australian river left the family of a  26-year-old swimmer traumatized after watching him snatched and pulled under.

Sean Cole was swimming in Australia's Mary River when a saltwater crocodile took him in his jaws and pulled him underneath, the BBC reported.

Cole's body was recovered Monday by authorities.

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The river, located 65 miles southeast of the city of Darwin in the nation's Northern Territory, has one of the highest densities of crocodile populations in the area and has signs warning against swimming apparently were ignored by Cole and a friend.

Cole was snatched by the crocodile on his way back across the river after completing one lap with his friend, according to The Associated Press.

"Several of the group in the party witnessed the male being taken in the jaws of the croc for a period of time, and then he was out of sight," said Senior Sergeant Geoff Bahnert said.

"The Mary River is known worldwide to have the greatest saturation of adult saltwater crocodiles in the world," Bahnert added. "You don't swim in the Mary River."

Following the attack, at least four crocodiles were where shot and killed in the area, including the 15-foot croc believed to have been responsible for the attack, Parks and Wildlife Ranger Tom Nichols told Australia's ABC.net.

"Any animals that were in that range which we believed to be a possible target in the area where the accident took place, we usually take them out for simple reasons, we do autopsies on those and it's also closure for the families if there's anything there," Nichols told ABC.net.

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The largest living reptiles, saltwater crocodiles can grow up to 23 feet long and weigh more than a ton, according to Discovery's Animal Planet.

Saltwater crocodiles are found throughout Australia's Northern Territory, however, worldwide there are 12 species of crocodile, including the American crocodile.

The only species that is found in the United States, the American crocodile is smaller than its Australian counterpart, reaching a maximum length of up to 14 feet and a weight of more than 840 pounds. It is found throughout southern Florida, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean islands.

Related stories:

Crocodiles Guarding Thai Home Have Kept Thieves Away for Years

Largest Crocodile Dies, and With It Backwater Philippines Tourism Hopes

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