The remains of an Australian man last seen over the weekend fishing in a crocodile hotspot has been found inside one of two reptiles euthanised as part of the search for his body. A two-day search for Kevin Darmody, 65, came to a halt at the start of this week after the human body parts were found, with a formal identification process now underway. Police said it was a “tragic ending” to the search as Mr Darmody appears to have become only the 13th person known to have been killed in a crocodile attack since records began in Queensland, the northeast territory of Australia, since 1985.
The fishermen who were the last to see Mr Darmody over the weekend heard him yelling before a loud splash.
They tried to spot their fellow fishermen after the ensuing silence, fearing the worst, but “there was no sign of him”, according to Mr Darmody’s friend John Peiti.
He said the missing man’s flip flops were the only sign of his friend’s whereabouts after they heard him screaming.
John Peiti told the Cape York Weekly: “I raced down… but there was no sign of him, just his thongs [flip-flops] on the bank and nothing else.”
After a two-day search for Mr Darmody, police shot two crocodiles believed to be involved in his death.
The two reptiles measured 4.1m (13.4 ft) and 2.8m in length and were shot dead about 0.9 miles (1.5km) from where Mr Darmody was last seen.
After inspecting the two animals, the remains of a man were found inside the stomach of one of the crocodiles.
An identification process is underway but wildlife officers believe the remains to belong to the missing Mr Darmody. They maintain that both crocodiles were involved in the attack.
The crocodile population in Queensland has rebounded from a low of some 5,000 animals to roughly 30,000 today after a ban on hunting the animals was enacted in 1974.
The northeastern Australian territory is roughly 715,000 square miles, with an average of 1.7 adult crocs per kilometre of river surveyed in the area, according to a 2019 report.
The last time a fatal attack was recorded was in 2021, when a fisherman was killed by a crocodile in similar circumstances on Queensland’s Hinchinbrook Island.
There were also fatal attacks in the state’s far north in 2017 and 2016.
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Under Queensland’s management programme, “problem crocodiles” are removed from areas where they threaten public safety. In rare instances, they are euthanised.
Australia’s Northern Territory (NT), to the west of Queensland, is home to the world’s largest wild crocodile population of some 100,000 reptiles.
Attacks are much more common in NT despite publicity campaigns to be “crocwise” around rivers. The crocodiles lie in significant numbers in the shallows and on the riverbeds.
There was an average of one to two deaths from crocodile attacks in the Territory each year from 2005, but none have occurred since 2018.
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