LAHAD DATU, Sabah: A father was seriously injured after failing to stop a crocodile from attacking his baby, according to multiple media reports.
The incident happened last Thursday (Dec 1) off the coast of Lahad Datu in Sabah. A one-year-old boy was on a canoe with his 45-year-old father, identified as Moherat. They were fishing when a crocodile attacked.
The dad immediately tried to fight off the reptile and suffered multiple bite wounds, including a large gash on his head.
However, Moherat was not able to rescue his son, who was dragged underwater.
In a viral video circulating online, the crocodile later surfaced with the body of the boy in its jaws.
“Despite the man’s (Moherat) best efforts, he ended up with numerous bite wounds and could not stop his son being dragged underwater,” Sumsoa Rashid, head of the Lahad Datu Fire and Rescue Agency was quoted as saying by Yahoo News Australia.
“There are several viral videos showing how the victim was attacked by the crocodile and then grabbed before being dragged to a nearby river.”
Moherat was later taken to Lahad Datu Hospital for medical treatment.
The police, marine police and the local fire department are continuing efforts to locate the boy's remains, scouring a 2km stretch of water from where the attack occurred.
Search and rescue operations last Thursday and Friday were unsuccessful.
Officials have warned villagers who live nearby to stay out of the water as the crocodile remains on the loose.
“Many residents there rely on the river for their food and livelihood so they need to go into the water,” Sumsoa was quoted as saying.
“We have warned them of the extra dangers at the moment and to be especially careful because the crocodile is likely to be still in the area.”
Crocodiles often attack humans in areas where they are natives.
Around 1,000 people are killed every year by crocodiles, according to the animal encyclopedia AZ Animals and CrocBITE, a database documenting global crocodile attacks.
However, it is hard to record the exact number of crocodile attacks annually because some of them happen in remote areas and go unreported.
Two years ago, another child was killed by a crocodile while swimming in a river in Lahad Datu with his friend.
The eight-year-old had been swimming in waters less than 20m from his home when he was attacked. His body was recovered two hours later close to where the attack took place.