FT journalist presumed dead after being 'dragged into water by crocodile'
Sri Lanka FT journalist presumed dead after being 'dragged into water by crocodile'
Man named as Paul McClean had been taking surfing lessons in Sri Lanka, when witnesses say he was pulled into the lagoon after washing his hands
A British tourist is missing after witnesses saw him being dragged into a lagoon by a crocodile in Sri Lanka.
The man, who is presumed dead, was named in reports as 24-year-old Paul McClean, a journalist for the Financial Times.
The man had been takin g surfing lessons and was pulled into the water in a lagoon while washing his hands, according to local witnesses.
A Scottish tourist, who is currently on holiday in the area and wished to remain anonymous, said: âA British tourist was at a surf spot called Elephant Rock. Thereâs a lagoon right next to the sea he went to the toilet next to the lagoon and was grabbed by a crocodile.
âThere are lots in the lagoon. People last saw his arms in the air in the water and then was grabbed under. I was there but didnât see it happen though. Horrible.
âThey are searching for a body but havenât found anything yet ... They are 90% sure it was a crocodile but a couple of the guys said there was quicksand in the lagoon.â
Fawas Lafeer, owner of Safa Surf School, located up the coast from where the incident happened, said witnesses saw a crocodile take him. He said: âHe went in the jungle, about 800 metres [874 yards]. It was when he was washing his hands that the crocodile took him.
âThere is a river connected to Elephant Rock, and he went in the river. They canât do anything because the river is deep and murky, it is not very clear. They have sent out the navy, army and the task force.â
Lafeer heard what happened from some locals who witnessed what happened. He said: âTwo [fishermen] saw the incident. This is the first time anything like this has happened, Elephant Rock is always safe to surf.â
Sean Carroll, from Australia, wrote on Facebook: âA croc just took a tourist bloke in Sri Lanka. He was walking on a beach where a small river meets the sea, itâs named Crocodile Rock for that reason obviously. He still hasnât been retrieved from river.â
He added in a comment that the army and police are searching for the tourist: âItâs not looking good [at the moment] for the poor bloke.â
The Daily Telegraph reported that the victim was McClean, a reporter for the Fast FT sect ion.
He and his friends had reportedly been staying with friends at the East Beach Surf Resort, in the south-east of the country and had been taking surfing lessons at Elephant Bay when the incident happened on Thursday afternoon.
A colleague at the FT told the newspaper: âWeâre all totally stunned. He was a great kid, an Everton fan, super bright. Itâs an absolute tragedy.â
McClean, who graduated from Oxford with a first class honours degree in French, had worked for the newspaper for two years â" his first job following his graduation.
He had covered the EU and Brexit, having spent a couple of months living in Brussels this year.
A friend, who asked not to be named, described McClean â" whom she met at university â" as âvery smiley and smartâ.
She told the Guardian: âHe was an incredibly lovely, considerate person. Everyone really liked Paul â" he was very easy to like â" and he was doing really terrific work at the FT.â
She added: âHe was just a very decent human being.â
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: âWe are assisting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Sri Lanka.â
- Sri Lanka
- Financial Times
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