Crocodile blamed for British snorkeler's death
Monday 26 September 2005
The body of 37-year-old technical services superintendent Russell Harris was discovered yesterday in a creek on the island of Groote Eylandt off Australia's northern coast.
Acting police senior sergeant Stephen Pfitzner said all the indications were that Harris was attacked by a crocodile.
"There are a number of injuries on the deceased and also there was a crocodile sighted very close to where the deceased was located," Pfitzner said.
Authorities were flying Harris' body to the northern port city of Darwin for an autopsy later Monday to confirm his cause of death.
Harris disappeared Saturday while snorkeling with another man off rocks near Picnic Beach on the island, which is home mainly to local Aborigines but also has a large manganese mine operated by Anglo-British mining group BHP Billiton, where Harris had been working for five months.
Pfitzner said Picnic Beach was a popular swimming spot for workers on the island, despite crocodiles inhabiting the area.
"A lot of the non-indigenous staff use that area as a recreational area, it's quite popular for swimming and snorkeling and spear fishing," Pfitzner said.
A four-meter crocodile "is not unusual for that area," he added. "I think we probably need to send a warning out to people that these animals do inhabit these areas and that's the danger you face by jumping in the water."
BHP Billiton was arranging to fly members of Harris' family, and that of his American wife, to Darwin and also had sent counselors to help more than 200 staff working at the mine deal with the death of their colleague.
"It is a small community and the (mining) operations are very much the center of that community so this will be a very difficult time for them," said BHP Billiton spokeswoman Tania Price.
Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven meters in length are common in rivers and in the sea around northern Australia. Their numbers have exploded in recent years thanks to a hunting ban imposed in the 1970s when it was feared the giant animals could be wiped out by people shooting them for their skins.
If it is confirmed, the weekend killing would be the second fatal crocodile attack in a month in northern Australia. Late in August a 60-year-old man fishing from a canoe in northeastern Australia was dragged underwater and killed by a crocodile.
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
- 3 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
- 4 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 5 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
Photographer who performed naked shoot in China's Forbidden City sparks outrage
Ed Miliband returns to the backbenches but it's all a bit awkward as he tries to avoid eye-contact with fellow Labour MPs
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Isis tortures 14-year-old Syrian boy and films it in graphic video for 'propaganda purposes'
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£26500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...
£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced creative web and...