Police find human remains after crocodile attack

Police said they found human remains today in an Australian swamp where a crocodile snatched an 11-year-old girl.

The remains would undergo DNA testing to determine whether they belong to the girl who vanished yesterday while swimming with three children in a swamp on the outskirts of the northern city of Darwin, Northern Territory Police Superintendent Michael Murphy said.

A police statement said the find "strongly indicates she has died from a crocodile attack."

If confirmed, it would be the second fatal crocodile attack in northern Australia in five weeks.

Murphy declined to give details on the remains, which were found in water 450 metres from where the girl was last seen, he said.

The three children who had been swimming with the girl, including her younger sister, told police that they saw the head and tail of a crocodile "splash the surface" of the water near where she vanished moments earlier, Murphy said.

A search of the swamp late yesterday and today failed to find the crocodile.

The swamp is not far from crocodile-infested flood plains, but local Michael Dobrovitch said he swims there regularly.

"I get in, I get out quick, but I always have somebody with me" to watch for crocodiles, Dobrovitch told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

A five-year-old boy vanished from a river edge in northeastern Australia on 8 February, and officials later confirmed an attack when his remains were found in the stomach of a 4.3 metre crocodile.

Last September, a 62-year-old man was killed by a crocodile in another north-eastern river while checking crab pots.

Crocodiles have become plentiful in Australia's tropical north since they became protected by federal law in 1971.