A search team looking for a 12-year-old boy who was snatched by a crocodile have reportedly discovered human remains near the waterhole where he was swimming in Australia.
The boy was attacked by a saltwater crocodile while swimming with friends in Kakadu National Park, west of Jabiru, in the Northern Territory.
One of his friends also suffered a bite wound to his arm as he attempted to help the boy free, and received hospital treatment at the scene from ambulance staff. He had tried in vain to stop the crocodile from taking his friend, but it proved too strong.
Search teams had seen their task complicated by recent flooding in the region, with the underwater area expanding by three times the original width of 200m.
However, Acting Commander Michael White, of the Northern Command, believes the search may now be over.
He said: "Search teams have now located evidence within the search area which strongly indicates the boy has died from the crocodile attack. Further DNA testing will be conducted to confirm the identification.
"No specifics will be given in relation to the trauma or type of evidence located out of respect for the family."
According to local reports, two animals were shot as search teams attempted to establish if the boy had been eaten, but no human remains were found inside them.
The park has been hailed as one of northern Australia’s most popular tourist attractions, but the group of friends were reportedly swimming in a restricted area, and a park spokesman insists that signs clearly stated the children should not have been swimming in the water.
"We have big croc warning signs with croc jaws and a big thing saying 'croc risk; do not swim here, do not enter'."
Saltwater crocodiles can grow up to 5.8m (19ft) in length and have been known to attack humans who enter their territory, offering some reasoning as to why the boy was attacked.
Despite this, crocodile attacks are rare in Australia, with the last fatality occurring in August after Sean Cole, 27, was killed by a crocodile as he swam across the Mary River in Darwin.