Crocodile attack

A saltwater crocodile swims in the Adelaide River near Darwin, Australia. (Neda Vanovac / European Pressphoto Agency)

Police in Australia say they have recovered the body of a man who attempted to swim across a crocodile-infested river in the Northern Territory.

Sean Cole, 26, from Darwin, was attending a birthday party Saturday night at the Mary River Wilderness Retreat when he and a friend decided to go for a swim, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Horrified partygoers described seeing a crocodile drag Cole under the water, then swim upstream with his body in its jaws, Northern Territory police told the broadcaster. Cole's friend made it safely back to shore.

Police Senior Constable Wade Rodgers, who coordinated the search, said Cole's body was found early Monday, not far from where he was last seen, the Northern Territory News reported. Authorities also recovered the body of a 15-foot crocodile, believed to have been responsible for Cole's death, the paper said. Several crocodiles were shot in the hours after the attack.

The Mary River is infested with saltwater crocodiles and there are warning signs prohibiting swimming, according to news reports.

“They just did something silly,” Tom Nichols, a Northern Territory wildlife ranger, told Associated Press.

Saltwater crocodiles are the world's largest reptiles and can grow as long as 23 feet.  The species was nearly extinguished last century by hunting, but its numbers have grown across northern Australia since they were protected by a federal law in 1971.

ALSO:

Snipers attack U.N. chemical weapons team in Syria

As Bo Xilai's trial ends, he accuses witness of love triangle

Drunk Australian man injured while trying to pet 16-ft saltwater crocodile

alexandra.zavis@latimes.com

Twitter: @AlexZavis