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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 December, 2003, 16:43 GMT
Croc shot in hunt for man-eater
Saltwater crocodile
Saltwater crocodiles can grow up to 7 metres in length
A crocodile which killed a young man in Australia's remote Northern Territory is thought to have been shot dead by wildlife rangers, police said.

The 3.8-metre (12-foot) crocodile was shot close to where Brett Mann, 22, was snatched on 21 December.

Two friends with him were rescued after climbing a tree by the River Finniss.

Officials think it is the same animal since the creatures are strongly territorial but cannot confirm until the carcass is found and opened.

A police spokesman, John McCourt, said the animals sink after they are shot and then rise to the surface several hours later.

The contents of the crocodile's stomach will be examined to see if the reptile consumed part of Mr Mann's body but the killer may have stored it away somewhere.

 Ashely McGough and Shaun Blowers
Two friends witnessed the attack

"The primary reason for the search was the recovery of the body is so the family can have closure and we remain committed to that," Mr McCourt said.

Mr Mann and two friends, Ashely McGough and Shaun Blowers, had been riding quad bikes in the area when Mr Mann was swept away by the river.

He was snatched by the crocodile, which then stalked his two friends who stayed in a tree for 22 hours, before they were winched to safety by a helicopter.

Saltwater crocodiles are the world's largest reptiles and are aggressive and dangerous.

About 100,000 live in tropical northern Australia.

They are believed to have killed more than a dozen people in the past 20 years.


SEE ALSO:
Friends witness crocodile killing
23 Dec 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Collectors warned off croc signs
19 Jun 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Crocodile kills German tourist
23 Oct 02  |  Asia-Pacific


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