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Crocodile suspected in missing boy case

A crocodile is suspected to have taken a 12- year-old boy after attacking his friend as they swam in a water hole on Sunday in a popular Outback tourist destination in northern Australia.

Police believed the missing boy was taken by a crocodile as he and a number of other boys swam at Mudginberri Billabong in World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, southeast of the Northern Territory capital of Darwin, Acting Police Commander Michael White said.

"One other boy, also aged 12, was bitten on the arm by the crocodile and has received medical treatment," White said.

Police and park rangers are searching for the boy by land and boat, he said.

Crocodile numbers have exploded across Australia's tropical north since the species was protected by federal law in 1971. The crocodile population is densest in the Northern Territory, where Kakadu National Park is located, and is promoted as a major tourist attraction.

A 26-year-old man was killed by a 4.7-meter (15.5-feet) crocodile in August last year as he swam across the Mary River southeast of Darwin.

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