Crocodile bites off 10-year-old's head

A huge crocodile knocked over a canoe in a southern Philippine lake and decapitated a 10-year-old girl, police said.

The girl and a classmate were on their way to their floating school on Mihaba Lake in Agusan del Sur province when the crocodile bumped the boat, causing it to capsize, Bunawan town police officer Melchor Danuco said yesterday.

The attack happened on Saturday but it wasn't until Monday that rescuers found the girl's headless body floating on the lake.

The classmate was rescued by a man escorting the pair in another boat, said Ruel Hipulan, head of the private group that runs the school in the remote town.

"It's a monster crocodile," Hipulan said, adding that officials were hunting the animal following the attack.

Police said that, based on accounts of villagers, the crocodile might be as long as 7 metres, which is huge, even for the large salt water crocodiles known to inhabit the lake.

Attacks are rare. But the lake's waters have been swollen for the past several months, causing fish to scatter to others parts. With little to feed on, the crocodiles have become aggressive, he said.

The crocodile attack has prompted the temporary closure of the school and the evacuation of about 100 residents of houses on stilts on the lake, Hipulan added.

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