Fatal croc attack ‘an isolated incident’
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Authorities at the Isimangaliso Wetland Park say they are monitoring their population of the reptiles after a woman was killed by a crocodile there on Tuesday.
CEO Andrew Zaloumis said yesterday the incident at St Lucia Estuary which claimed the life of Thandazile Madela, 48, was an opportunistic and isolated attack.
Madela had been trying to retrieve her fish when a crocodile grabbed her arm and dragged her into the water in full view of her son Sphelele, 12, and grandson Ayanda, 11.
The children used a fishing rod to try and fend off the crocodile, but it vanished under the water with Madela.
Thembinkosi Mdladla, 28, who had been nearby, held children back as they tried to jump in the water when the crocodile emerged with Madela’s body in its jaws.
“In this instance, Madela unfortunately placed herself in a dangerous position at the water’s edge between reeds while untangling her fish,” said Zaloumis.
“There are around 2 000 crocodiles in Lake St Lucia and this particular animal is not identifiable. The behaviour of crocodiles in the estuary will be monitored.”
He said Isimangaliso’s approach was to capture and relocate problem animals when an unprovoked attack occurred. Killing the animal was a last resort.
“It is a myth that once a crocodile has tasted human flesh it will specially target humans.”
He warned that people should not feed or approach the reptiles.
Madela’s widower, Lucky, 58, said yesterday that the two children had been taken for counselling and would be monitored carefully over the next few weeks.
“It was an accident. I will allow the children to go fishing at a later stage, provided there is adult supervision,” he said.
Mdladla said people yesterday fished at the beach where Madela was killed, but the mood had been sombre: “People are afraid of fishing at the spot where the incident occurred.”