Body of British journalist found in Sri Lanka after suspected crocodile attack

Sri Lankan rescue officials search for the body of British journalist Paul McClean in a lagoon near the coastal village of Panama, 360 kilometres east of the capital Colombo, on Sept 15, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan police on Friday (Sept 15) found the body of a 24-year-old British journalist, Paul McClean, who is suspected to have been killed by a crocodile.

Divers found McClean's corpse in the mud of a lagoon in the coastal village of Panama, 360 kilometres east of the capital Colombo by road, a police spokesman said.

"There were six or seven wounds on his right leg," a police official said by telephone. "The body was stuck in mud at about the same place where he was seen last by some others who were with him."

A crocodile is believed to have dragged McClean away on Thursday afternoon, the officer said, but a post-mortem examination later on Friday would formally establish the cause of death.

British media reports said McClean, who worked for the Financial Times, was holidaying in Sri Lanka with friends.

He was on a beach and had wandered away to find a toilet when he stumbled into an area known to be infested with crocodiles.

Other holidaymakers in the area alerted police after McClean disappeared and a search was mounted with the help of navy divers.

Crocodile attacks are rare in Sri Lanka. However, earlier this month, wildlife authorities reported that a crocodile had seriously injured a wild elephant in the south of the island.

During monsoon floods in May, authorities warned people in inundated areas to beware of stray crocodiles.

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