Tourist missing after crocodile pulls her under the water

A 46-year-old woman is feared dead after being attacked by a crocodile while swimming with a friend on a beach in far North Queensland in Australia.

“Her friend tried valiantly to drag her to the shore but unfortunately wasn’t able to do so and the woman subsequently disappeared”.

A Lithgow woman is presumed dead after being taken by a crocodile in the Daintree Rainforest National Park on Sunday night.

Ms Waldron was swimming with her friend, Leeann Mitchell, 47, at Daintree, north of Cairns around 10pm when the crocodile attack took place.

Neil Noble, QAS Cairns Senior Operations Supervisor, told Brisbane Courier mail a search was under way that involves the police, a rescue helicopter and the SES.

Ms Waldron’s family paid tribute on Tuesday to an “outstanding woman” and “darling girl”.

“While the laws vary from state to state on what to do with a crocodile that attacks, what we are sure of is that crocodiles are a protected form of wildlife”.

“Their expertise is second to none. It would be very, very distressing for her”.

Grahame Webb, who has worked in crocodile conservation for decades, said some waters were too risky to plunge into, no matter how inviting.

They had been taking a stroll along beauty spot Thornton Beach on Sunday evening when they made a decision to go for a swim.

Bruce Belcher, a Daintree River tour guide, said there was plenty of signage warning people of the dangers about crocodiles. Noble advises people to stay as far as possible to the water, particularly when it is dark. “In the cover of darkness, they come out and hunt”.

Since then, the numbers of crocodiles across the northern tropics have grown significantly, and they are posing an increased threat to humans.

“Are you saying should we kill everything that gets big? They’re top predators and in fact they keep an ecosystem healthy by getting rid of the weaker individuals of other things”.

Professor Webb, who is also chair of the crocodile specialist group of the International Union of the Conservation of Nature, said a crocodile cull was unnecessary. They are territorial, instinctual animals.

“But obviously it is of great concern that the missing person may’ve been taken by a crocodile”.

The witness to the crocodile attack suffered only minor physical injuries, but she is being treated at Mossman Hospital for some cuts and shock.

She said her friend had been excited about buying her house in Lithgow, which she moved into in February.

Their thoughts were with Cindy’s family, he said.

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