A woman was killed by a crocodile on Friday in a remote part of the Northern Territory. (www.flickr.com: Peter Nijenhuis)
A crocodile that killed an Aboriginal woman could still be on the loose, despite being speared in the head by rangers following the attack.
This morning, police said the crocodile was speared in the head after the incident, but was yet to be found after it escaped from local rangers.
As the crocodile is believed to be 4 to 5 metres long, police said the crocodile would have most likely survived the spearing.
The victim was working as a ranger in the community and was gathering mussels alongside family and friends at a local billabong when she was attacked.
Officers from Lake Evella and Nhulunbuy worked with local rangers and the community to search nearby waterways for the woman on Friday afternoon.
Her body and the crocodile were found just before 5:00pm, less than 1 kilometre from the scene.
A close friend of the woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said it was believed children had witnessed the attack and that the crocodile was known to rangers as a “problem” and had defied “numerous” capture attempts.
They said the victim would be missed for her bold personality and sense of humour, and remembered her as a hard worker who was admired by both the Yolngu and Balanda communities.
Commander Fuller said the woman had been “waist-deep” in water at the time of the attack, and whether or not she was working at the time would form part of police inquiries.
Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation, which runs the Yirralka Rangers program, first reported the attack to authorities, and has since closed its office.
NT WorkSafe confirmed it was investigating the incident.