Teen’s body found mauled by croc after dinghy sinks

Savannah Meacham and Laine Clark |

A large crocodile has been blamed for killing a teenage boy in far north Queensland.
A large crocodile has been blamed for killing a teenage boy in far north Queensland.

A hunt for a huge crocodile is under way in the Torres Strait after a search for a missing 16-year-old boy ended in tragedy.

The teenager’s body has been found at a remote far north Queensland island after a suspected attack by a crocodile at least 3.5m in size.

The teenager and a 13-year-old boy had attempted to swim ashore when their dinghy broke down off Saibai Island, 900km north of Cairns, early on Thursday.

The boat was 500m from land when it had engine trouble and started taking on water in rough conditions.

The boys had almost made it to shore when the 16-year-old suddenly vanished.

“When they got into waist deep water the older of the two boys went missing below the water,” Queensland Police’s Far North District Senior Sergeant Greg Giles told reporters.

The shaken 13-year-old made it to shore and raised the alarm, sparking an extensive sea, land and air search.

Saibai Island community
The boy was taken in waters off Saibai Island in the Torres Strait. (Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS)

About 12 hours later the older teen’s body was found.

“Unfortunately the older boy’s body was located in the mangroves. We are working with the coroner to identify that person,” Senior Sergeant Giles said.

He said the 13-year-old didn’t see a crocodile before the older teen went missing.

“He’s pretty shaken up as you could imagine,” he said.

“He was very close to the other boy when he went missing so no doubt it would have affected him.”

Police are working with the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, which said Saibai Island was a known crocodile habitat.

The department confirmed the boy’s injuries were likely from a large croc.

“Injuries sustained are consistent with a large crocodile in the vicinity of 3.5m in size, possibly slightly larger,” department wildlife officer Simon Booth told reporters.

The search has begun for the crocodile after the local community requested the animal be removed.

“Wildlife officers will survey the waters off Saibai Island by helicopter this afternoon in an attempt to locate the crocodile involved,” a department statement said.

“The local community has requested the animal involved in the incident be removed from the wild.

“(DESI) extends its condolences to the family and friends of a teenager who died in waters off Saibai Island.”