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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Australian crocodile 'kills diver'
Saltwater crocodiles are aggressive and dangerous
A man is believed to have been killed by a crocodile in northern Australia - the second fatal attack there in less than a week.

The 56-year-old man was scuba diving with a friend on the Cobourg Peninsula, in the Northern Territory.

In a separate incident last Saturday, Briton Russell Harris was killed while snorkelling near Groote Eylandt.

About a dozen people have been killed by saltwater crocodiles in Australia in the past 20 years.

The body of the latest victim has been taken to Darwin for examination, but police say it shows marks consistent with a crocodile attack.

The man was reported missing early on Thursday by his diving companion, who also saw a large crocodile nearby, police Superintendent Dean McMaster told reporters.

Police praised the friend, who despite the shock of the incident, managed to mark the exact location of the attack before calling for help.

"But for the quick actions of the man, the diver's body may never have been recovered," Mr McMaster said in a statement.

Hunting ban

Saltwater crocodiles are common in rivers and the coast around northern Australia.

Their numbers have increased rapidly in recent years, due to a ban on hunting passed in the 1970s.

Mr Harris's death had already sparked debate about whether limited hunting should be allowed to resume.

Another man - Australian Barry Jefferies - died in August, when he was dragged from his fishing boat by a crocodile in northern Queensland.

The crocodile believed to have been responsible for that attack has already been destroyed.

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