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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 August 2005, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Australian missing in croc attack
Saltwater crocodile
Saltwater crocodiles are common in the area they were fishing in
A man who was fishing in north-eastern Australia is feared dead after a crocodile grabbed him by his arm and dragged him into the water.

There has been no trace of the 60-year-old man since the incident late on Tuesday, although the search is continuing.

The crocodile capsized the canoe the man and his wife were fishing in, and the woman had to swim ashore for help.

The 4m (13 foot) reptile suspected of the attack has since been shot dead.

Police Superintendent Mike Keating said the man had tried to fight off the crocodile, which was in the Normanby river, near Cooktown in Queensland.

The area is known as "croc country" because of the amount of saltwater crocodiles in the vicinity.

Risky activity

Crocodile hunter Mick Pittman said that it had probably been unwise for the couple to be fishing in a canoe.

"When you're fishing out of a canoe, they're pretty game. I'd never go up nowhere near an estuarine river where there's crocs, because the first thing he'll do is come up and give you a walloping," Mr Pittman told ABC radio.

Saltwater crocodiles are among the wild's most aggressive predators.

It is estimated that there are around 100,000 saltwater crocodiles living in tropical northern Australia. They are believed to have killed more than a dozen people in the last 20 years.

Victims airlifted to hospital

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