Hunt for monster crocodile after teen killed in Queensland

Georgina Noack and Peta Rasdien
The Nightly
2 Min Read
A teenager has been killed in a crocodile attack in Queensland.
A teenager has been killed in a crocodile attack in Queensland. Credit: stock.adobe.com

A teenage boy has died after a crocodile attack off an island in Far North Queensland, police have confirmed.

The 16-year-old boy disappeared in “waist-deep” waters off Saibai Island in the Torres Strait around 4am on Thursday, sparking a land and sea search.

About 12 hours later, police located a body with “injuries consistent with a crocodile attack” in mangroves on the island.

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The formal identification process is underway to confirm the identity of the body, and further testing is underway to confirm the cause of death, police said.

It is understood the teenager and a 13-year-old boy had tried to swim to shore after their dinghy broke down and began taking on water.

In an update on Friday, Cairns Police Senior Sergeant Greg Giles said the boys were about 500m from shore in “quite rough” waters when they decided to swim back.

“As far as we understand they were headed out into the Torres Strait, the reason why we aren’t sure at this stage,” Mr Giles said.

“It was quite rough at the time around that area so the boat was taking on water and because they couldn’t start the engine they decided to swim back.”

He said the younger boy made it to safety and did not see the crocodile, but is “pretty shaken up” by the incident.

When asked about the boys’ decision to swim to shore, Mr Giles said there were few other options for the boys, given the circumstances.

“Especially at that time in the morning when there’d be no other boats around, I suppose you don’t have many options when your boat is taking on water,” he said.

Police are working with officers from the state’s Department of Environment, Innovation and Science as investigations continue into the teen’s death.

Part of the investigation includes a hunt for the crocodile responsible for the attack, which DPEIS program coordinator Simon Booth said is believed to be at least 3.5m long.

“Injuries sustained (in the attack) consistent with a large crocodile, in the vicinity of 3.5m in size, possibly slightly larger, so we’re currently pursuing on the basis of that,” Mr Booth said.

He added that crocodiles had been sighted in the Torres Strait and around Queensland in the past, and that Saibai Island is “known to be within crocodile habitat”.

The matter will be reported to the Coroner.

Saibai Island, known as Saibai, is a low-lying island only 4km from the mainland of Papua New Guinea, estimated to be home to around 500 people.

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