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Girl, 7, feared to be taken by crocodile in Australia

Published on Nov 17, 2012 8:19 AM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian authorities are searching waterways in a remote part of the country's Northern Territory for any sign of a seven-year-old girl feared taken by a crocodile, police said on Saturday.

The girl was reported to have been taken by one of the large reptiles while swimming with her family on Friday afternoon at a settlement about 340 kilometres east of the city of Darwin. A search by police and volunteers on Friday failed to find the child and extra police and wildlife rangers had been flown to the remote area.

"There was a search commenced at first light this morning," a spokeswoman for Northern Territory Police said.

Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven metres long and weigh more than a tonne, are a common feature of Australia's tropical north.They have been protected since the 1970s and their numbers have increased steadily since, along with the number of human encounters.