Man Who Went Missing in Crocodile-Infested Waters Declared Dead by Police

Police in Australia's Northern Territory have called off their search for a man who went missing in waters inhabited by crocodiles after they found evidence that he was dead.

The 28-year-old man was fishing with two others on Saturday off the coast of the town of Wadeye when their boat came into trouble at around 7:30 p.m. local time and capsized, Australia's ABC news outlet reported citing a police statement. Wadeye is a large remote aboriginal community with an estimated population of 3,000.

The other men, who were also Wadeye residents, swam for around 30 minutes to reach the shore. Health care workers treated them for shock and exposure.

After searching for the man for three days, police ended their efforts as DNA evidence suggested he had died.

On Tuesday, officials removed a large crocodile from the search area. Police said a large number of crocodiles live in the area.

Superintendent Kirk Pennuto said on Wednesday according to Yahoo News said: "After an intensive three-and-a-half-day air, land and sea search that involved police, Parks and Wildlife, [...] volunteers, local rangers and community, the missing man has not been located."

He said a coroner will explore a "number of possibilities" to explain the man's death.

Pennuto said: "The search effort has been exhaustive and has identified evidence, including DNA evidence, that the missing man is no longer alive... The man's family is being offered welfare and pastoral support. Our thoughts are with them."

The man's family said in a statement released via a spokesperson seen by ABC: "The family of a person missing near Wadeye since Saturday are respectfully requesting that their privacy is maintained during this terribly difficult time.

"They have been overwhelmed by the response from police, emergency services, rangers, community members and friends.

"The ongoing search, subsequent outcomes and any announcements will be managed by the relevant authorities."

The incident comes after a man lost his toes after being attacked by a crocodile in the Northern Territory around 200km (nearly 125 miles) away from where the unnamed man disappeared on Saturday, between the Daly River and Adelaide River.

Leroy Daly, 28, told 9News he has been swimming with crocodiles in the Daly River for most of his life, and had never before been bitten. Prior to the attack on Tuesday August 18, he was shooting magpie geese in water up to his knee with friends.

"We fired a couple of gun shots—we thought we'd see the grass move or something," he said. As he collected a bird he accidentally trod on the head of a saltwater crocodile. Daly said it was bigger than 4 meters long (13 ft).

"I thought it might have been a log or something—but then felt its sharp teeth," he said.

crocodile, stock, getty
A stock image shows a crocodile. Police have called off a search after a man went missing in waters inhabited by crocodiles. Getty Images