The remains of a crocodile killed by wildlife officers have been found to contain “items of relevance” in the search for a Far North Queensland publican who went missing while fishing on Saturday.
- Kevin Darmody, 65, disappeared while fishing along the Kennedy River on Saturday
- Wildlife officers shot two crocodiles just upstream of where the publican was last seen
- The suspected attack happened in Lakefield (Rinyirru) National Park, a declared crocodile conservation area
Two crocodiles, which measured 4.1 metres and 2.8m, were shot dead about 1.5 kilometres from where Kevin Darmody was last seen at Kennedy Bend in the Lakefield (Rinyirru) National Park.
Authorities believe Mr Darmody, 65, of Laura, may have been taken after going to the water’s edge to retrieve a fishing lure.
Police Inspector Mark Henderson said two groups were fishing at Kennedy Bend on the afternoon of Mr Darmody’s disappearance.
“They did shoo away the smaller crocodile when they arrived so they could fish and it appears a short time after that, we suspect, an attack has occurred,” he said.
The attack was not seen but the other fishermen reported hearing Mr Darmody yell, followed by a loud splash.
Crocs found in same place
Michael Joyce, the Department of Environment and Science’s manager of northern wildlife operations, said rangers killed the crocodiles “together … within 10 seconds of one another” on Monday night.
Mr Joyce said it was “disappointing” when people chose to take risks around water in crocodile country.
“I’ve fished at Kennedy Bend, as has [Mr Darmody] unfortunately in this case, and it is something you can do safely, but we all make mistakes,” Mr Joyce said.
“I think to be vigilant when you’re fishing, making sure you’ve got a buddy with you, those things, will go a long way, keeping back from the bank.”
“A lure is not worth your life.
“If you’re in water, and especially if you’re in Lakefield — which is declared specifically for crocodile conservation — you should expect crocodiles in that water.”
A known croc haunt
Kennedy Bend is known as a good spot for barramundi near the edge of the main road through Lakefield National Park.
But anglers who fish there regularly say it is notorious for the presence of many crocodiles, including one about 4 metres long.
“Steve Irwin used to let trouble crocodiles go there years ago,” Cameron McDougall, a recreational fisherman from Cooktown, said.
“There’s one that we know pretty well there that, over the years I’ve said, ‘This crocodile is going to eat someone one day’ because he’ll follow you up and sit right at the bank.
“I’ve seen him eating ducks, right on the edge of the water.”
Mr McDougall, who runs a fishing channel on YouTube with friend and fellow Cooktown angler Connor Meldrum, said the pair would “rarely get anywhere near the water”.
“If I’m flicking near the water, I’m behind a tree or I’m at least three or four metres up the bank,” he said.
“If you keep moving, they’ve got to keep changing their positions and try to re-stalk you again.”
Police said a report would be prepared for the coroner once the necropsies on the crocodiles were completed.