Sean Cole was among a group of fifteen friends who were celebrating a 30th birthday on the banks of the Northern Territory’s Mary River in Australia. The river is infamous for the world’s highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles. Despite signs and verbal warnings from the staff at the Mary River Wilderness Retreat and Caravan Park, Sean and a friend ignored them and decided to dive in for a swim.

True enough, a five-metre crocodile was waiting for the IT worker from Darwin. All his friends could do was watch helplessly from the river bank as the crocodile grabbed Sean between its jaws and dragged him under the surface of the muddy river around 4pm on Saturday. Since then, he has yet to be seen. As for his other friend who went in the water with him, he managed to make it back to the river bank safely.

On Sunday afternoon, the group of friends continued to watch on helplessly as police dragged the river in search of his remains. Sean’s parents and his sister also arrived from their home in Katherine, where it was a four hour drive away from the Mary River. During the drive, his family had to try and understand the tragedy as well as confront the inevitability that he was already dead. ”Our thoughts are with his family. When you get here, you are told there are crocs, that the river is full of them. Don’t swim. Stay at least five metres back from the river. If people follow that advice, it is entirely safe. We have never had an attack before this,” stated Erin Bayard, a manager at the resort.

During the search for Sean, the police shot a large crocodile that was nearby. However, they do not believe that it was the one involved in the attack. Regardless, they had to shoot it in order to ensure that it did not endanger searchers. Normally, when crocodiles are shot, the purpose is to cut them open to look for the victim. Unfortunately, this method would be pretty pointless in Mary River. The reason being that there are hundreds of crocodiles passing up and down the waterway. ”This river has the highest density of saltwater crocodiles in the world,” said Senior Sergeant Geoff Bahnert at Darwin police. For more of the story, you can read it here.

Happy Fish Swim School would like to remind all swimmers to always obey the signs and warnings given. They are there for a reason and shouldn’t be taken granted of. For more information about swimming, please visit our website.