Probe as girl (11) killed by crocodile

An Australian coroner has started an investigation into the death of an 11-year-old girl who was killed by a crocodile, as two fresh attacks refocused public scrutiny on how to manage the animals.

The inquest will look into the death of Briony Goodsell, one of four people killed by crocodiles in a seven-month period in 2008 to early 2009.

It comes on the heels of two crocodile encounters in the last week -- the latest a five-year-old girl who was slashed on her leg while swimming yesterday in Caledon Bay in Northern Territory.

Police said it was unclear whether the 6.5-ft (2m) saltwater crocodile attacked the child, who received a laceration on her leg, or if she disturbed the animal and it cut her as it was trying to get away.

A fisherman recently was bitten on the head and shoulders while diving for sea cucumbers about 120 miles (200km) northeast of Darwin.

Both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles were hunted to near extinction in Australia but have become plentiful in the tropical north since they became protected by federal law in 1971.

Increasing attacks on humans have led to calls for greater culling and suggestions that trophy-hunting safaris be part of the management plan.

A plan approved last October rejected safaris but increased the number of eggs and animals that can be harvested for farming, food and export.