Fears for Australian child missing after croc attack

A desperate search is under way in northern Australia for a boy feared to have been taken by a crocodile.

The 12-year-old was last seen around dusk on Tuesday, swimming near the remote town of Palumpa – about a 7-hour drive south west of Darwin in the Northern Territory (NT).

Police say a specialist search and rescue team has been deployed after “initial reports stated the child had been attacked by a crocodile”.

The NT is home to an estimated 100,000 saltwater crocodiles, more than anywhere else in the world, but attacks are uncommon.

Members of the community in Palumpa – home to only 364 people – and local police began searching for the child immediately after he vanished in Mango Creek around 17:30 local time (08:00 GMT).

They have now been joined by additional officers and the expert search and rescue team who are combing both land and water for signs of the boy.

An aerial search may also be launched, according to local media.

“Officers are currently searching a large section of the creek via boat and we thank [the] community for their ongoing assistance,” Senior Sergeant Erica Gibson said in a statement.

“Local officers are on scene and our thoughts are with the family and the community.”

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