Australian MP says woman snatched by crocodile was 'stupid' to go swimming at night
A woman killed by a crocodile in northern Australia has been criticised for her “stupidity” by a local MP who criticised her decision to swim at night at a notoriously dangerous beach.
Warning against a “crocodile backlash”, Warren Entsch, an MP from the ruling Coalition, said the coastal area where the 46-year-old disappeared had numerous signs warning visitors of the danger.
“You can't legislate against human stupidity," he said.
“This is a tragedy but it was avoidable... You can only get there by ferry, and there are signs there saying watch out for the bloody crocodiles . If you go in swimming at 10 o'clock at night, you're going to get consumed.”
Tourist Cindy Waldron, 46, was swimming in waist-deep water with a friend at 10.30pm on Sunday night and yelled that she was being attacked by a crocodile before disappearing.
Her friend, a local resident aged 47, was grazed on the arm after she tried to pull the victim from the jaws of the crocodile.
"[She] tried to grab her and drag her to safety and she just wasn't able to do that," police senior constable Russell Parker told ABC News.
"They had been walking along the beach and they've decided to go for a swim just in waist-deep water and [it was] probably a very nice, clear night, but obviously [they] may not have been aware of the dangers."
The incident occurred at Thornton Beach in the popular Daintree region in north Queensland, where a 16–foot crocodile has been spotted in recent weeks.
The area, north of the tropical city of Cairns, is known for its large crocodile population, which has been a drawcard for tourists.
"The whole of Cairns and up into Cape [Tribulation] is known for its large crocodiles," said Neil Noble, from the state ambulance service.
"Certainly one has to be very careful around our waterways. Stay well away from the water when you can, especially when you can't see.”
Mr Entsch said the latest incident occurred in a national parkland and urged the public not to start a backlash against crocodiles which could affect local tourism.
“Let's not start vendettas,” he said. "People have to have some level of responsibility for their own actions."
Earlier this month, a desperate fisherman threw spanners and spark plugs to fight off circling crocodiles after his friend drowned when one of the animals capsized their small boat near Darwin.
Crocodile numbers have increased since the introduction of protection laws in 1971, with estimates putting the Northern Territory's population in the wild at about 100,000.