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British tourist killed by crocodile while washing hands in Sri Lankan lagoon

Witnesses say they saw Paul McClean was 'waving his hands in the air' before he disappeared into the water

Sally Hayden
Friday 15 September 2017 08:24 BST
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The 24-year-old Oxford graduate was at a surf spot called Elephant Rock when the incident happened
The 24-year-old Oxford graduate was at a surf spot called Elephant Rock when the incident happened (Paul McClean/LinkedIn)

A British journalist has been killed by a crocodile after washing his hands in a lagoon in Sri Lanka.

Paul McClean is thought to have been ambushed the the creature as he dipped his hands into some water.

The 24-year-old Financial Times journalist had reportedly left his friends to go to the bathroom near a beach at a surf spot called Elephant Rock, near Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka's southeast,

Witnesses said they saw him "waving his hands in the air" before disappearing into the lagoon.

A Scottish tourist, currently in holiday in the area, told The Guardian: "There’s a lagoon right next to the sea he went to the toilet next to the lagoon and was grabbed by a crocodile.

“There are lots in the lagoon. People last saw his arms in the air in the water and then was grabbed under. I was there but didn’t see it happen though. Horrible.

“They are searching for a body but haven’t found anything yet ... They are 90 per cent sure it was a crocodile but a couple of the guys said there was quicksand in the lagoon.”

McClean grew up in Thames Ditton, Surrey. In 2015, he graduated Oxford University with a first class honours degree in French.

He began working at the Financial Times in September 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile. During his time with the newspaper, he spent a few months in Brussels, where he wrote about Brexit and the EU.

His latest article came out just three days ago and examined the champagne industry.

On his Twitter profile, McClean described himself as an Everton fan.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office confirmed they are "assisting the family of a British man who has died in Sri Lanka."

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