SYDNEY - Police in Australia's north were on Thursday examining remains found inside a crocodile amid fears it could be a man who disappeared near a beach in the area.
The 22-year-old was last seen by his family on Friday at Pirlangimpi, on Melville Island about 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Darwin.
Police said local community leaders shot the crocodile dead on Wednesday in their hunt for the man, and biological material was found inside.
"At this stage it is unknown if the remains are human and testing will be undertaken," said Sergeant Antony Deutrom from the Northern Territory police.
"This is a very distressing time for the family and community."
Crocodiles are common in Australia's tropical north. Their numbers have increased steadily since the introduction of protection laws in 1971, with government estimates putting the population at 75,000-100,000.
In June, a man was snatched by a crocodile in front of terrified relatives while on a boat trip in the country's north.
It was the first fatality since January, when a 12-year-old boy was seized by a crocodile in the Kakadu national park.