ABC: Remains of croc attack victim found

Publish Date:
28th January 2014

Story and interview audio on ABC website

Remains of croc attack victim found

By Xavier La Canna

Children in Jabiru will be offered counselling after remains believed to be that of the 12-year-old boy attacked by a crocodile in Kakadu National Park were recovered.

The boy was part of a group swimming at Mudginberri Billabong on Sunday afternoon and was thought to have died in the crocodile attack, which also left a 15-year-old boy bitten on both arms.

The pair were swimming at Mudginberri Billabong, about 250kms east of Darwin and 20kms from the town of Jabiru, in an area known to have crocodiles.

Police on Tuesday confirmed they had found remains believed to be that of the boy, who would have been due to return to school today.

A spokesman for the Education Department said the Jabiru Area School would be making regular contact with families affected by the attack.

"The Jabiru Area School counsellor and the principal are providing support to the staff, students and to the local indigenous families," he said.

Police said they would be conducting DNA tests to ensure the remains, found in the vicinity of the attack, were from the missing boy.

"No specifics will be given in relation to the trauma or type of evidence located out of respect for the family," said Acting Commander Michael White from NT Police.

Meanwhile the death has sparked debate about whether crocodiles in the area should be culled in light of the attack.

Chief executive of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, Justin O'Brien, said traditional owners wanted a review of crocodile management, including whether the animals, which are protected, should be allowed to be killed.

"It is important to realise that traditional owners here in Kakadu have been using these waterways for recreational and hunting purposes for literally tens of thousands of years," Mr O'Brien said.

"They are simply saying the traditional owners that with their wealth of experience they would like to be listened to. There is a very strong view that they have not been listened to," he told the ABC.

But crocodile expert Charlie Manolis says the wild population of the animals in the wild is stable at about 100,000.

"I always worry a little bit about just going in and trying to cull and reduce numbers because what does with a lot of salties is that they just go to ground and you won't see them at all and it may give people a false sense of security," Mr Manolis said.

Dr Graham Webb from Crocodylus Park in Darwin said he believed the crocodile responsible for the attack should be shot if needed to recover the body or for law and order.

As part of the search for the missing boy police shot and killed three crocodiles, two of which were recovered, and shot at a fourth crocodile.

A police spokeswoman said the family of the boy were grieving.

"They are obviously very distraught," she said.