Croc Attacks Swimmer And Drags Her Off After Tug-Of-War With Her Friend
“Croc attacks swimmer” is the word out at Thornton Beach in the Daintree River area of Queensland, Northern Australia, after a crocodile snatched a woman from a late-night swim with a friend. Cindy Waldron, 46, was swimming with her friend, Leeann Mitchell, 47, at about 10 p.m. on Sunday, May 29, 2016, when a crocodile spirited Waldron away, and searchers haven’t found her yet.
Mitchell fought in vain to pull her friend from the jaws of the croc in an area with warning signs against such attacks. The snatched swimmer is feared dead, and her friend continues to be traumatized by the ambush in waist-deep water off Daintree National Park.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Mitchell ran to a nearby business establishment to raise the alarm on the latest of the croc attacks the area is known for and initiate a search for her swimmer friend. Police identified the women involved as not from the local area, where crocodiles are a risk in waterways and along the coast when they travel between river systems.
Crocodile attack victim Cindy Waldron, 46, (L) and her friend, Leeann Mitchell, 47. Search continues in fnq. pic.twitter.com/biMGjS6IuD
— Kristy Sexton-McGrath (@kristysexton) May 30, 2016
Investigating the incident, Senior Constable Russell Parker gave ABC radio the following details.
“They had been walking along the beach and they’ve decided to go for a swim just in waist-deep water at Thornton Beach and probably a very nice, clear night, but obviously may not have been aware of the dangers.”
BBC found out that Waldron, from Lithgow in New South Wales, was in waist-deep water when she became a croc attacks statistic leaving fellow swimmer Mitchell behind. Parker elaborated on the incident.
“We would hold grave fears for the welfare of the woman. Her 47-year-old friend tried to grab her and drag her to safety and she just wasn’t able to do that. [The friend] then ran to a nearby business and raised the alarm, and from that point police and other authorities were advised.”According to the New Zealand Herald, Mitchell, from Cairns, had just completed a bout of chemotherapy, and Waldron was in north Queensland to support her. Seemingly unmindful of past croc attacks in the area, two women succumbed to the swimmer’s lure of friendly waters on a peaceful night near a cozy community with a handful of houses, a cafe, and some tourist accommodation.
New Zealand Herald reported that Mitchell, Waldron’s childhood friend in Hamilton, New Zealand, came out of the incident unharmed, a rare thing in croc attacks. What Mitchell has to deal with is having to replay in her mind her failure to stop the predator from dragging away her fellow swimmer who was screaming, “a croc’s got me, a croc’s got me”.
Telling reporters afterwards that “you can’t legislate against human stupidity,” Australian Member of Parliament Warren Entsch warned of a backlash against crocodiles. For an area popular with crocodile-spotting tours, he said croc attacks are avoidable by following swimmer-friendly warning signs.
“This is a tragedy but it was avoidable. If you go in swimming at 10 o’clock at night, you’re going to get consumed.”
The saltwater croc is distinguishable by its wide snout, from other types of crocodiles, and is plentiful in the multiple river systems near Darwin such as the Adelaide, Mary, and Daly Rivers flowing into billabongs and estuaries in Northern Australia. The largest of all living reptiles, the saltwater crocodile in Australia has multiplied in numbers to an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 adults. Males grow to at least 20.7 feet and possibly up to 23.0 feet in length, a formidable player in the much-feared croc attacks haunting every swimmer’s mind in Queensland waters.Croc attacks reoccur in Australia’s tropical north with the kill average at two people a year, and before Waldron’s, the last fatal crocodile encounter in the Daintree River area happened in 2009 when a 5-year-old boy was taken from shore while playing with his brother and dog.
Traumatized swimmer Mitchell is recovering at the Mossman Hospital in Queensland.
[Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images]