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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 19:42 GMT 20:42 UK
British man killed in croc attack
Crocodile
Saltwater crocodiles are aggressive and dangerous
A crocodile is thought to have killed a British mine worker who was snorkelling in Australia, police said.

The body of Russell Harris, 37, from Eastwood, near Nottingham, was found in a river on Groote Eylandt island off Australia's northern coast.

The mines supervisor, who was snorkelling with a friend, disappeared off Picnic Beach on Saturday. His body was found on Sunday.

His parents are flying to Darwin, where the post-mortem tests will take place.

Gemco mine

Mr Harris had been working on the island for five months for Gemco, a part of Anglo-American mining group BHP Billiton.

Northern Territory police spokeswoman Sue Bradley said officers on the island thought his injuries indicated he could have died as the result of a crocodile attack.

Another police spokesman told ABC Radio a 4m (13ft) saltwater crocodile spotted in the area was believed to have been responsible for the man's death.

"Police strongly suspect that's what has occurred. There are a number of injuries on the deceased and also there was a crocodile sighted very close to where the deceased was located," he said.

The 33-year-old friend who was snorkelling with Mr Harris called the police and a plane conducted an aerial search of the area, with several civilian vehicles and boats also joining in.

Police said he was last seen about 20m (65ft) from shore, and the alarm was raised on Saturday afternoon.

A BHP Billiton spokeswoman said: "Our priority at the moment is to offer support to the family and also our employees."

The crocodile has not yet been caught and police advised people to take extra precautions if swimming in the area.

'Adventurous guy'

Mr Harris's half-brother, Tony Bennett, said his parents "had taken it very badly. Russell was only 37, he would have been 38 at Christmas."

Mr Bennett, 50, from Milton Keynes, said the victim's mother, Jacqueline Harris, had been hospitalised with shock.

Paying tribute to his brother, Mr Bennett said: "You could not meet a nicer guy. He had time for people. You would meet him for the first time and he would always remember something about you the next time you met.

"He was an adventurous guy, he lived life to the full. He was very intelligent and loved his sports. He would try anything, like snow-boarding or water-skiing."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Details of the fatal attack on Mr Harris



SEE ALSO:
Australian missing in croc attack
17 Aug 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Croc shot in hunt for man-eater
31 Dec 03 |  Asia-Pacific


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