- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA (AP) - A crocodile seen in an Australian swamp seconds before a 12-year-old girl disappeared is suspected of attacking and killing her, police said Monday.

If confirmed, it would be the second fatal crocodile attack in northern Australia in five weeks.

The girl had been swimming with three other children Sunday in the swamp on the outskirts of the northern city of Darwin when she disappeared, Northern Territory Police Superintendent Rob Farmer told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

One of the children reported seeing a crocodile tail slap the surface of the water near where the girl had vanished moments earlier, Farmer said.

A search of the swamp late Sunday and early Monday failed to find the girl or the crocodile.

But police on Monday found her shorts in the water about 70 yards (meters) from where she was last seen, ABC reported.

A 5-year-old boy vanished from a river edge in northeastern Australia on Feb. 8, and officials later confirmed an attack when his remains were found in the stomach of a 14-foot (4.3 meter) crocodile.

Crocodiles have become plentiful in Australia’s tropical north since they became protected by federal law in 1971.

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