Provincial Police in Western Province are still searching for a crocodile reported to have snatched a seven-year-old boy around the Vona Vona lagoon, near Savanga village last Tuesday afternoon around 3pm.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall said last week that the boy was swimming with two other young boys, both aged eight, off the seafront wharf at Savanga.

One of the eight-year-olds was sitting on an underwater stone at the end of the wharf when he spotted the crocodile nearby behind the other two boys swimming about six metres away. He shouted a warning to them and they quickly swam back to the wharf.

"The younger boy was the last to climb up the rock wharf when a rock loosened and he fell back into the water and was taken by the crocodile," Commissioner Marshall said.

"The two surviving boys witnessed the 15-feet crocodile dragging the younger boy underwater a short distance from the wharf. Nearby villagers, who were alerted by the distressed boys, saw the crocodile swimming off in an easterly direction."

Commissioner Marshall said that the seven-year-old boy was now presumed to be dead as a result of the tragic attack.

"Our hearts go out to the boy's family and all the people of Savanga village and the Vona Vona lagoon area at this time," he said.

"Two RSIPF officers from Munda and their PPF advisor have been out at Savanga village investigating the incident. They searched the area last Tuesday afternoon until dark, returning Wednesday in their police boat to search all day again. The police search effort is continuing."

Commissioner Marshall said that so far searchers including police and relatives have not yet had any success in locating the boy's body, or the large crocodile.

"We urge people to report any new sightings of a large crocodile in the Vona Vona lagoon area to police," he said. "Police are doing everything they can to help locate and return the young boy's body to his family for proper burial."

Commissioner Marshall said villagers had told RSIPF officers that the same crocodile was suspected to have been responsible for two other crocodile attacks (and deaths) earlier this year at Beta Village - also on the Vona Vona lagoon.

"This is a timely reminder to people in other communities living close to lagoons and waterways to be extra careful and keep watch for crocodiles in the area," he said.

Source: Press Release (Police Media Unit)