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Last Updated: Monday, 5 February 2007, 10:44 GMT
Crocodile disrupts swimming class
By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney

Crocodile in Darwin swimming pool - 5/2/07
It took two hours to get the creature out

A group of schoolchildren in Australia's Northern Territory has had a lucky escape.

They turned up at a Darwin pool early this morning to find that a crocodile had got there first.

The children noticed a dark shape in a shaded corner which then scuttled across the lawn and into the public pool.

Amid screams and shrieks, they quickly realised the shape in question was a crocodile.

The 1.6 metre reptile remained under water for more than two hours before it was tackled by a catcher who managed to tie it up, lift it from the pool and then take it to a nearby crocodile farm.

On the prowl

It is thought the reptile may have been escaping turbulent seas and climbed up a nearby cliff in search of calmer waters.

Another theory is that the crocodile was released into the pool area deliberately as part of a prank.

Flood conditions elsewhere in northern Australia have led to a spate of crocodile sightings.

One was spotted swimming past a police roadblock near the town of Ingham in north-east Queensland.

Crocodiles can hide themselves in as little as 30 centimetres of water, a particular hazard right now for people waiting on the sides of flooded roads.

The authorities have warned people to be especially vigilant and to avoid activities such as swimming in rivers or harbours.

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