The Jakarta Post
Residents of North Labuhanbatu, North Sumatra, managed to retrieve the body of a fisherman from the grip of a crocodile's jaws on Monday, a day after he was snatched by the reptile and dragged into the Simangalam River.
The 43-year-old fisherman was attacked while bathing in the river at about 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Ginton Simanjuntak, a local resident, said the incident took place shortly after the victim returned from fishing on the river with two other people.
"When the victim was bathing on the river bank, a crocodile suddenly appeared and dragged him to the bottom of the river," Ginton told The Jakarta Post on Monday. "He cried for help, but we couldn’t do anything because the victim and the crocodile quickly disappeared."
The North Labuhanbatu Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), the military, the police and local residents quickly launched a search and rescue operation to locate the fisherman.
At about 9:30 p.m. on Monday, the team found the crocodile near the river with the victim’s body in its jaws, said BPBD emergency and logistics division head Sukardi.
"The residents ran after the crocodile and threw a fishing net in its direction. We subsequently managed to retrieve the victim's dead body from the crocodile's jaws after the body got stuck in the net," Sukardi said.
He added that the crocodile disappeared right after the body was retrieved.
North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) Area III conservation department head Alfianto Luat Siregar said this was the second crocodile attack in the Simangalam River this year.
In July, a 47-year-old resident of Tanjung Alam village was attacked and dragged into the river by a crocodile as he was getting off his boat. His wife and son witnessed the incident.
He was found dead seven days later, a kilometer away from the location of the attack.
Alfianto said conflicts between humans and crocodiles often occurred in the Simangalam as the river was a natural habitat for saltwater crocodiles.
"I have asked residents not to go to the Simangalam River, especially at night, since crocodiles are nocturnal animals," he said. (nal)