Croc attacks Australian girl, 5

Croc attacks Australian girl, 5
# 22 March 2010 17:35 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. An Australian child was slashed in a near escape from a crocodile, police said Monday, as a hearing into a fatal attack on a schoolgirl last year reignited debate on managing the predators, APA reports quoting AFP.
The five-year-old girl was swimming off tropical northern Australia on Sunday when she encountered the saltwater reptile, police said.
"She received a laceration to her leg and quite deep," superintendent Mike Murphy told state radio.
"I believe it’s from the rear foot of the crocodile. Obviously the claws have gouged her and basically slashed her leg open."
Rangers searched the area but were unable to find the crocodile, he added.
The attack came as Northern Territory coroner Greg Cavanagh opened an inquest into the death of 11-year-old Briony Goodsell, who was taken by a 3.5-metre (11.5-foot) croc in the Black Jungle Swamp near Darwin last March.
Crocodiles are officially protected in the Northern Territory and are estimated to number 80,000 as they thrive in the vast network of rivers and lakes criss-crossing the region.
An average of two people are killed each year in Australia by saltwater crocodiles, known locally as "salties", which can grow up to seven metres (23 feet) long and weigh more than a tonne.
Local authorities have pushed for limited trophy hunting of the creatures -- a proposal which was rejected in 2005, and again last year following Goodsell’s death.
Darwin authorities captured almost 200 salties from waterways around the city last year for the protection of residents after heavy rainfall and flooding in the wet season allowed the animals to move more freely and inhabit areas they would otherwise avoid.