Major search for boy, 12, who went missing after he was ‘attacked by crocodile while swimming’

Police and locals are searching for the missing boy (Picture: NT Police)

Police boats are desperately searching for a 12-year-old boy who was reportedly attacked by a crocodile while swimming.

Emergency services were called to Mango Creek in Palumpa, a remote town in the Northern Territory of Australia, on Tuesday night.

The boy was last seen swimming in the creek at around 5.30pm local time (8am GMT) and ‘initial reports stated the child had been attacked by a crocodile’, the force said.

A search involving both police and local people has been launched, and has since been joined by additional officers and an expert search and rescue team who are searching both land and water.

It’s thought an aerial search could also be launched.

Senior Sergeant Erica Gibson said: ‘Local officers are on scene and our thoughts are with the family and the community.

‘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 an estimated 100,000 crocodiles – more than anywhere else in the world. But attacks on humans and deaths are rare.

Saltwater crocodiles can grow up to 18ft (6 metres) in length and are larger and more aggressive than freshwater crocodiles, which also live in the waterways of the West Daly region.

Crocodiles are found all the way across northern Australia. They were hunted to near extinction but numbers have bounced back since hunting was banned in the 1970s, the BBC reports.

There have been at least two other crocodile attacks against humans in the Northern Territories in the last year.

In January, a nine-year-old boy was left fighting for his life after being attacked in Kakadu National Park.

And last November a farmer fought back against a crocodile by biting it back.

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