|The crocodile that killed the student
Lucknow, June 3: A saltwater crocodile that killed an American student in the Andaman Sea has been caught after a month-long search by forest officials, whose only clue was the underwater video of the young womans desperate battle against the predator.
Yes, the crocodile was finally captured from Radhanagar Beach early yesterday, deputy conservator of forests S. Senthil Kumar said in Port Blair today.
The April 28 attack had set off a wave of panic among foreign tourists in the Andaman Islands, and the capture came as a huge relief for tourism officials.
Its a great relief, said one official.
The crocodile will be shifted to a mini zoo in Haddo, also in Port Blair, Kumar said.
Lauren Failla, who had just completed her masters from the Sothebys Art Institute in London and was on a holiday with her Indian-origin boyfriend Ajit Singh Chadda, was swimming near Radhanagar Beach when the 3.9 metre-long reptile attacked.
Police sources in Port Blair said the attack was recorded on a video camera Chadda, a US citizen of Indian origin, was carrying. Officials said the footage was the only clue to the crocodile attack, rare in the islands.
The camera had got lost in the struggle but divers later traced it.
The body was found two days later on April 30. It was recovered from a place on the other side of Radhanagar, a police source said.
According to local volunteers, Laurens right arm had been completely eaten up and her face damaged.
A team of 12 officials from the forest department had launched a search for the crocodile around April-end. It was surfacing at one place but disappearing by the time we reached there, forest official S.R. Sunderrajan said.
At least seven creeks, each with a stretch of around 7km that joined the sea, provided the crocodile a long escape route. It required tremendous patience to track it down, deputy conservator Kumar added.
Kumar said forest officials tried to lure the reptile towards the beach but every time it escaped the trap. Finally, yesterday, around 1.30am, it surfaced. The video footage of the crocodile was with us. We matched the features and captured it.
Earlier, Michael Tran, a US state department spokesperson, had told reporters in America that Indian authorities had been approached for an investigation into the death.