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Child, 12, missing after being attacked and taken by crocodile: Report

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(LONDON) — Police in Australia have launched a search near a remote community for a missing 12-year-old child after reports that they were attacked and taken by a crocodile while swimming in a creek.

The incident took place on Tuesday evening at about 5:30 p.m. local time in the remote community of Palumpa — approximately a seven-hour drive southwest of Darwin with a population of about 400 people — in Australia’s Northern Territory, according to the Northern Territory Police, Fire & Emergency services in a statement released on Wednesday.

“Around 5:30pm last night, police received reports of a missing 12-year-old child who was last seen swimming at Mango Creek,” authorities said. “Initial reports stated the child had been attacked by a crocodile. Community members and Peppimenarti Police attended the scene and began searching for the child, who has yet to be located.”

A search and rescue team was immediately deployed into the area with officers from Wadeye assisting but the child has still not been located, according to officials.

“Local officers are on scene and our thoughts are with the family and the community,” said Senior Sgt. Erica Gibson. “Officers are currently searching a large section of the creek via boat and we thank the community for their ongoing assistance.”

The Northern Territory is home to the world’s largest wild crocodile population, with more than 100,000 of the predators in the wild, according to Australia’s Northern Territory tourism website.

“If you’ve ever wanted to see a crocodile in the wild, the NT is the best place in the world to do it,” the page reads.

While the crocodiles can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh up to 1 ton (2,000 pounds), attacks on humans are very rare, though officials warn to steer clear of them.

“They have a taste for fish, but will eat just about anything including cows and buffaloes, wild boar, turtles, birds and crabs,” according to the NT’s tourism website. “Don’t attempt to feed any wild crocodiles during your stay, and don’t swim in any waterway or camp, fish or walk in any area where crocodile hazard signs are posted. The best way to avoid getting hurt is to avoid crocodiles in the wild altogether.”

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