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Paul McClean

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 taking 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: “A British tourist was at a surf spot called Elephant Rock. There’s a lagoon right next to the sea he went to the toilet next to the lagoon and was grabbed by a crocodile.

“There 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 didn’t see it happen though. Horrible.
“They are searching for a body but haven’t found anything yet … They are 90% sure it was a crocodile but a couple of the guys said there was quicksand in the lagoon.”
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: “He went in the jungle, about 800 metres [874 yards]. It was when he was washing his hands that the crocodile took him.

“There is a river connected to Elephant Rock, and he went in the river. They can’t 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.”

Lafeer heard what happened from some locals who witnessed what happened. He said: “Two [fishermen] saw the incident. This is the first time anything like this has happened, Elephant Rock is always safe to surf.”

Sean Carroll, from Australia, wrote on Facebook: “A croc just took a tourist bloke in Sri Lanka. He was walking on a beach where a small river meets the sea, it’s named Crocodile Rock for that reason obviously. He still hasn’t been retrieved from river.”
He added in a comment that the army and police are searching for the tourist: “It’s not looking good [at the moment] for the poor bloke.”

(The Guardian)