Human remains have been found by rescuers searching for an 11-year-old Australian girl feared to have been eaten by a crocodile, police said. Heavily armed police made the grisly discovery today after scouring Lambells Lagoon, near the northern city of Darwin, where witnesses saw a crocodile's tail slap the water near the girl seconds before she disappeared on Sunday. Superintendent Michael Murphy said the body parts would be identified by DNA testing.
"No specifics will be given in relation to the trauma or the type of evidence located out of respect for the family," he said, adding that he could not "begin to understand the emotions they are encountering". Up to 10 officers had spent 12 hours wading through chest-deep water set in difficult and overgrown terrain in their grim hunt for a body or the predator. "Obviously it's a tragic incident and the family are very upset by it," Supt Murphy had told reporters earlier as police confirmed the discovery of the girl's shorts. "We're treating it as a worst-case scenario."
The girl was with her seven-year-old sister and two other children aged 10 and 12 when she disappeared in an area known as Black Jungle Swamp late Sunday afternoon. "One of the children got into difficulty in the water and as the others swam towards her, one of them (saw) what they believed to be a crocodile tail slap the water near the girl," Superintendent Rob Farmer said. "She's then gone under the surface and was not seen again."
The girl's friends told authorities they saw the head and tail of a crocodile splash in the water moments before the missing girl disappeared for the last time. Her friends then ran to a nearby house and raised the alarm. Police and emergency services cordoned off the area and launched a search. The hunt in the marshy and difficult terrain was called off after dark on Sunday for safety reasons and was resumed early today.
The surviving children were badly traumatised by the incident, according to Supt Murphy. "This is very hard-hitting for the local community and it's hard-hitting for the Northern Territory and the rest of Australia - the loss of a young girl is a very tragic event," he added. *AFP