Family of boy taken by crocodile in Daintree doesn’t want it killed

NEWS.com.au

February 09, 2009 02:00pm

THE parents of a five-year-old boy feared taken by a 3-metre crocodile on a north Queensland river say they don’t want any of the reptiles put down.

A search for the boy in the Daintree River, north of Cairns, resumed today, but has been hampered by the high tide.

Police say the boy, whose parents run a Daintree tourist venture, disappeared about 9.30am (AEST) yesterday after following his dog into the water from a boardwalk.

His seven-year-old brother was with him and told police he saw a crocodile soon after his brother vanished.

Rangers have set a trap to try to determine what happened to the boy.

Acting Police Inspector Jason Smith said the parents had said they did not want anything to happen to crocodiles along the river.

“I’ve been advised that the child’s family that they do not want any adverse action against crocodiles in the Daintree,” he said.

Steve Doble, who owns Daintree Rainforest Rivertrain, flung himself into the waist-deep floodwaters only to find his youngest boy had vanished.

He was alerted by the screams of his older son Ryan, 7, who had to be treated for shock after witnessing the attack.

Locals said the “sweet, gentle-natured” child and his older brother were playing on a boogie board as their father fixed a broken mangrove boardwalk nearby, The Courier-Mail reports.

The Doble family were too upset to speak publicly about their horrific ordeal yesterday.

“It is just devastating,” said long-time local Col Patterson, 44, whose family built and sold the 13ha tourist property to the family five years ago.

“Dad jumped in after him, but it was too late. His older brother saw it all and will, no doubt, be haunted by that image.

“Everyone in the community has come together for them.”

Mr Patterson said it was the end of the breeding season and up to 100 resident mature-age crocodiles in the Daintree River system were “hungry, aggressive and on the move”.

The big male and several nesting females had been seen sheltering in the mangrove away from the fast-flowing cold floodwaters in recent weeks.

Police, SES, and about 20 local tour guides on boats scoured the treacherous waters and swamps, hampered by king tides and flash flooding, probing deep holes with bamboo poles.

SES controller Bob Taylor said many crocodiles up to 5m were spotted yesterday.

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