Nothing new, but here is the same story by a different paper. http://www.belizemall.com/amandala/#1
Old croc kills young boy!
by Kimberly King
BELIZE CITY, Wed. Aug. 14
Possible complacency by residents of the Belama areas of the City where their co-existence with crocodiles is concerned, had deadly results on Sunday afternoon, August 12, when the Swift family of Belama Phase II lost their eldest son to a 9-foot predator.
For years residents have been reporting sightings of crocodiles in their yards and in the various man-made canals in the area, but this has been one of the very few times a human has been attacked in the country by the huge reptiles, and the first time that an encounter occurred in the Belama area. Death resulted.
Thirteen-year-old Jamaal Swift, along with some teammates from the Belama Gators, a junior football team, went to the canal shortly after midday, Sunday afternoon, to celebrate their victory over the Kulture Yabra junior team. According to Varian Usher, 13, a close friend of Jamaal's, they were only in the water for about five minutes when Jamaal's younger brother, Jahlen, who was sitting on the roof of a public restroom from which Jamaal and his friends were leaping into the canal, yelled out that there was a "big black thing" floating in the water.
Not paying much attention to him, Varian and Jamaal continued swimming, but Adrian Kelley and Andrew Middleton got out of the water.
Varian told Amandala that he sighted "the big, black thing" coming towards them "full speed," and it was nearer to him. He said he made a dash to safety, and the crocodile passed him and headed for Jamaal, who was nearer to shore, but apparently too frightened to make haste.
Varian made shore, and with his friends watched in horror as the crocodile bit Jamaal in the left side of his upper back and pulled him under water.
Jamaal resurfaced seconds later, and Varian and his friends formed a human chain, with Varian at the end, trying to pull Jamaal to safety.
"I tried to grab his hand, but it was too wet and the crocodile was pulling too hard", Varian said.
As they watched in disbelief, the crocodile apparently grabbed Jamaal by his foot, and pulled him from the grasp of his friends. Jamaal then disappeared under the water.
The horrific ordeal left the four boys, who were spectators to the incident, terribly shaken, but they had enough presence of mind to seek help. Ten minutes later, Jamaal's father, Magistrate Richard Swift, and a host of relatives, friends and neighbors, rushed to the scene in hopes that Jamaal would be found alive.
A group of men from the area immediately formed a search team and combed the canal for Jamaal's body. Their search, however, was futile. When Jamaal's body did resurface, it was around 8:00 a.m. the following day, Monday.
His body was retrieved from the canal by police and placed on the basketball court on which Jamaal spent most of his time. The body was then taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where a post mortem was performed. The examination concluded that Jamaal died from drowning.
Later that Monday night, residents of the area launched another search, this time for the crocodile that killed young Jamaal. The team found all sizes of crocodiles, except the 9-footer. The search proceeded until 4:30 Tuesday morning.
Funeral services for Jamaal Swift, who was going to be a Standard six student at St. Joseph School, were held at St. Joseph Church at 3:00 on Tuesday afternoon.
The incident prompted a crew of professionals, comprised of Marcelo Windsor, a wildlife conservationist at the Forest Department; Adam Finger, a researcher who is a U.S. national; and Australian Mark Howells, the last two named of Lamanai Outpost Lodge, to patrol the relevant section of the Haulover Creek on Tuesday night in a small boat for two hours looking for the crocodile.
At about 10:30 p.m. the crew returned with a crocodile that they said, "fit the description of the crocodile the residents gave." The reptile was found under a tree some 200 meters from the spot where Jamaal's body was found.
Some thirty residents of Belama Phase II two flocked to Sir Sandy Hunter Street to view the killer. One of the residents beat the creature frustratingly with a rock, saying that that was the one.
The crocodile was taken to the laboratory in Central Farm, where the authorities killed it and performed a post mortem to determine the contents of its stomach. They discovered that he had previously eaten a whole chicken. The crocodile had a chicken bone, three pebbles, and a three and a half-inch nail in his stomach.
Adam Finger told Amandala this afternoon that to catch the big male crocodile, the team utilized a snare and a long pole, which was attached to a rope that was tied to the boat. He said the crocodile fought, but they wore it out, taped its mouth and tied its feet.
Crocodiles can grow up to 14 feet. Finger said the largest he has seen in Belize was a ten-footer in Orange Walk.
Finger said crocodiles are not ordinarily a threat to man, so this incident was an unusual occurrence. Crocodiles are known to feast on small rodents, turtles and fish.
He said that he suspects that the reason the crocodile attacked the boy was because the reptile has been interacting with the residents over a period of time. The creatures inhabit a rural area, and have lost their fear of man. Normally, crocodiles avoid an encounter with humans, regardless of their size, although they are territorial and will protect their territory if they suspect it is under attack.
The male crocodile was between 30 to 40 years old, and weighed 220 pounds.
Internationally, there are twenty-three species of crocodiles. In Belize, there are two species that roam the rivers, canals and marshes - American crocodiles and Morlet's crocodiles. The one that was found was of the American class.
For his part, Tony Garel, manager of Tropical Education Center, who also studies the behavior of crocodiles, said that crocodiles are scavengers. The crocodile was probably hunting when he saw the water splashing as Jamaal and Varian were swimming. Crocodiles attack their preys in shallow, muddy and murky waters, said Garel. Crocodiles first drown their prey and then bury it under water until the body has decomposed, before they feed.
Crocodiles in the Belama area are said to range from 2 feet to 10 feet in length. Although it was the first time these creatures attacked a human in this area, residents told Amandala that the reptiles have an appetite for dogs.
A woman whose house is bordered by two canals told Amandala that the same crocodile that attacked Jamaal, killed her dog, a Rottweiler, late last year. She said all she found was part of the dog's tail on the bank of the canal, along with paw prints.
Another resident, who is a close friend of Jamaal's family, told Amandala that about two weeks ago the same crocodile tried to eat her dog. She said they heard the dog barking and when they went outside and spotted the flashlight, they saw the crocodile advancing towards the dog. They scared it off. She said most people recognize the crocodile because it is reportedly the largest they have seen so far.
Jamaal's father, Richard, who is a magistrate, said that although he was relieved by the relatively intact state in which Jamaal's body was found, he is still distraught by the fact that his son frequented the "bathing grounds" of the canal. He said neither he or his wife was aware of that. The Swift family has resided in Belama Phase II for six years. Mr. Swift knew that crocodiles inhabited the canals, and Jamaal also knew, because the canal runs behind their house.
He said he would not feel better until the residential areas are crocodile-free.
Last year in Orange Walk Town, twenty-six-year-old Alex Chata, who once frequented the New River, had an encounter while swimming that was too close for comfort. He won the match with a 6-foot crocodile, but in the end sustained a broken jawbone, a broken leg and multiple bites behind the neck, arms, feet and in the stomach area.
About two months ago, James Pelayo, 18, who tried to escape police custody by jumping into the New River, was attacked by a seven-foot crocodile that suddenly emerged from the water and nipped him in his chest. He was treated and released.
Varian and the other two boys who were with Jamaal Swift are receiving counseling.