Around 15,000 South African crocodiles in 'mass escape' during floods

The owner of the Rakwena Crocodile Farm was forced to open the gates after concern over a storm surge, local press reported

Around 15,000 crocodiles escaped from a farm in South Africa after heavy rain and flooding hit the north of the country.

The owner of the Rakwena Crocodile Farm was forced to open the gates on Sunday after concern over a storm surge, local press reported.

Many of the crocodiles have since been recaptured but over half remain on the loose in the Limpopo River.

"There used to be only a few crocodiles in the Limpopo River. Now there are a lot," Zane Langman, whose in-laws own the farm, told Beeld newspaper.

Mr Langman said the farm gates were opened because the owners feared the rushing flood water would crush the crocodiles.

A crocodile, apparently from the farm, was captured 75 miles away at a school rugby field Mr Langman said.

Mr Langman told Beeld newspaper he went to rescue friends in a flooded house in the area by boat on Sunday: "When we reached them, the crocodiles were swimming around them. Praise the Lord, they were all alive."

Limpopo province has been hit by serious floods which have killed 10 people and made many homeless.

The South African Air Force is being used to rescue people from remote settlements, many of which are cut off from the outside world.

The floods have also hit Mozambique, where thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.

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