A woman has been killed by a crocodile while out fishing with her family in the Northern Territory in Australia.
It took police three hours to get to the lake the group of seven women and children were at in east Arnem on Friday.
Police Commander Tony Fuller said the woman was fishing and collecting mussels in the lake with some family members at around 10:30 a.m. when they noticed the woman was missing.
The crocodile was destroyed by local rangers and the woman’s body was recovered.
“The family noticed she was missing and the bucket she was carrying was found nearby,” he said.
“They heard some splashing. She was up to waist deep in water.”
Initial reports suggested the woman was a ranger but police are still trying to confirm that and if she was working at the time.
Officers from Lake Evella and Nhulunbuy were working with local rangers and the community to search nearby waterways for the woman.
Commander Fuller said the long response time was unfortunately just a part of “doing business in the top end.”
“Any death is traumatic and our thoughts are with the family and relatives out there,” he said.
The Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation, which runs the Yirralka Rangers program, first reported the attack to authorities.
“NT WorkSafe has been notified that a female Aboriginal Ranger has been taken by a crocodile,” a statement issued by the government organization read.
NT WorkSafe has commenced an investigation into the incident after receiving reports of the attack from multiple witnesses.
A recent study by researchers at the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, Royal Darwin Hospital and Menzies School of Health into water-related deaths in the region, found deaths from crocodile attacks have increased dramatically since culling ended in 1971.
According to the study, 14 people were killed by crocs from 2005 to 2014, compared to 10 deaths in the 33 years to 2004. The latest confirmed death from a crocodile attack in the Northern Territory took place in January last year. A 47-year-old man was taken by a crocodile and killed while attempting to cross Cahills Crossing.
The Northern Territory government supports regulated trophy hunting in collaboration with indigenous groups but the notion has long been met with staunch opposition from the federal government.