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Man taken by crocodile while wading across Australian river

January 20, 2017

DARWIN, Australia (AP) — 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 at Cahill’s Crossing 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 crossing is a renowned fishing spot for prized barramundi, but it also attracts crocodiles as well as anglers. Authorities are frustrated by the risks some people take near the river despite an angler being decapitated by a large crocodile at the crossing in 1987.

“The signs are saying not to swim or even go in the water at Cahill’s Crossing. There’s been a lot of media attention around that crossing. People continue to do it,” Police Sergeant Bob Harrison told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

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.

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