Australian girl, 12, killed by crocodile while swimming in creek

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Australian authorities discovered the remains of a 12-year-old girl Thursday after she was reportedly snatched by a crocodile while swimming in a creek.

Police Senior Sgt. Erica Gibson told reporters, “It was an extremely difficult, essentially 36 hours, difficult for the first responders involved in the search.”

The child’s disappearance began a nearly two-day search by land, air and water.

Her remains were discovered near the river where the girl had gone missing, southwest of the Northern Territory capital Darwin, in the Indigenous community of Palumpa. 

Sgt. Gibson confirmed that the girl’s injuries were from a crocodile attack, saying “The recovery has been made. It was particularly gruesome and a sad, devastating outcome.”

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“However, for the family, it is the most devastating outcome possible for them. They are in a state of extreme shock and disbelief,” Gibson added.

Saltwater crocodiles are known to be territorial and the killer reptile may still be in nearby waterways. They are known to be a general risk in the Northern Territory, according to The Associated Press.

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Northern Australia is a tropical climate, supporting a boom in saltwater crocodile populations since populations have been conserved under Australian law beginning in the 1970s.

The population of large crocodiles is on the rise in Northern Australia, with some reptiles reaching up to 23 feet long. The animals grow throughout their lives, and crocodiles can live up to around 70 years of age.

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Sgt. Gibson told reporters that the search efforts for the killer crocodile are still underway.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.