An Ohio church group went swimming in a creek, only to find out they were sharing the water with a seven-foot crocodile, Cincinnati’s WLWT-TV reports. Fortunately, no one was injured.
River Lowe, a 10-year-old girl, was part of a group of children who went with a church group for a swim in Bantas Fork Creek, a popular swimming hold north of Cincinnati, on Wednesday night. She said she noticed something unusual in the water.
“It was right over there. Like, I saw a black shadow. And I could see its tail moving,” she said.
Rich Denius, one of the adults supervising the trip, said via Yahoo Lifestyle that when he spotted the shadowy beast, he calmly herded the kids out of the water and onto the safety of a bridge.
“God kept me calm. I called to the kids to get out of the water and onto the bridge. Most of them had no idea what was going on but they all quickly obeyed,” he said.
As the kids stood and watched from the safety of the bridge, the animal swam under it, just feet from where they had been swimming moments before. Meanwhile, another adult was on the phone with wildlife officials.
The reptile then crawled up out of the water and onto a sandbar, sparing wildlife officials the ordeal of having to wrangle him from the water. Unfortunately for the animal, that’s where its story ended, as it was wrangled onto the back of a truck by four men and then shot for the men’s safety.
Authorities determined that the animal was a salt-water crocodile that weighed approximately 171 pounds, according to Ohio’s state veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey. How it got into Bantas Fork Creek is anyone’s guess, though. It is possible that someone had kept it as a pet and then abandoned it when it became too much to handle. Salt-water crocodiles are not native to Ohio.
Authorities scanned the animal for a microchip that could possibly tie it to an animal sanctuary or pet owner, but found nothing.
Meanwhile, Jim Hazelwood, one of the pastors of the church group that took the kids swimming on the trip, is keeping a sense of humor about the whole thing. He joked that one of the kids in the group lost a croc, and a few minutes later someone spotted a shoe croc, and an actual croc, floating on the water.