The boy, identified as 12-year-old Mpho Mugwena, was swimming in the Mutshindudi River, a tributary of the Levubu River located in the Limpopo province of South Africa, when he was attacked and killed by the crocodile on Saturday afternoon.
According to a Limpopo police spokesman, Mugwena was accompanied by two friends and had come from the Tshivhilwi village, a beggarly arcadian town located outside of Thohoyandou, to get water.
“The boy went to fetch water in the river with two friends of the same age and, as it was hot, they got into the river for a swim where the crocodile caught him,” said Limpopo police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mohale Ramatseba.
The two other boys who accompanied Mugwena quickly raced to alert the authorities, who immediately sent police and divers to where the boy was last seen. Unfortunately, given the high level of crocodile activity in the area, response teams and divers were unable to directly search for the boy for fear of more crocodile attacks.
“When police divers assessed the situation it was found to be too dangerous for them because of the presence of crocodiles,” explained Ramatseba. “The police are always prepared to risk their lives in threatening rescue operations, but some situations like crocodile-infested rivers make it impossible for [us to act].”
In the meantime, rescue crews are using a boat to search for the young boy and villagers have been alerted to the danger of the crocodile-infested waters and warned not to go near the area.
Hundreds of people are killed each year by the aggressive crocodile species known as Nile crocodiles or Black crocodiles that are located in parts of south-east Asia and Africa, and predominantly found in coastal lagoons, estuaries, rivers, lakes, marshes and dams.
Generally, adult male and female crocodiles grow to between 8 and 16 feet in size and weigh between 500 to 1,000 pounds; however, mature old male Nile crocodiles can reach up to 18 feet or more in length, weigh up to 2,000 pounds and have mouths that are filled with between 64 to 68 sharp, cone-shaped teeth.
The bite strength of an adult Nile crocodile, as measured by National Geographic's Dangerous Encounters host, Dr. Brady Barr, can be up to 5,000 lbf (22 kN) in force.
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