A second crocodile has been killed and will be examined for human remains after a 69-year-old fisher went missing in north Queensland.
The reptile, measuring about 3 metres, was caught and euthanised by Department of Environment and Science officers near Hinchinbrook Island on Sunday night.
It comes after human remains were found inside a separate 4-metre crocodile caught on Saturday in Gayundah Creek near where the man went missing.
Tests to establish if the second animal contains human remains are under way, police said on Monday.
“The testing will take place and that information will be provided to the coroner,” Acting Insp Andrew Cowie said.
The man went fishing about 3pm on Thursday and was due back within an hour but failed to return. Officers found his upturned boat about 2.30am on Friday with damage suggesting a crocodile attack.
Searchers found human remains in the creek before finding the first crocodile.
The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the man’s death was shocking.
“It’s an absolute tragedy, what happened to that man and can I pass on our condolences to his family – absolutely horrific,” she told reporters.
It’s the third crocodile attack in Queensland this month with two swimmers in Cairns and Weipa surviving encounters. The animals involved were either killed or relocated to a crocodile farm.
The state’s opposition leader, David Crisafulli, said he understood the dangers of crocodiles in Queensland waterways and the importance of awareness programs.
But he said the department had become sluggish at removing problem animals.
“What I am saying now is people should come before crocs and the culture of the department must be to remove problem animals far quicker than they are,” Crisafulli said.
Federal MP Bob Katter said the state’s reactive crocodile-management plan had cost a human life and put others at risk. Katter’s Australian Party wants reptiles removed from populated locations and higher rates of harvesting eggs to control the “exploding” population.
“We aren’t talking about a crocodile issue; we are talking about the value of human life,” he said.
Palaszczuk said the government’s $6m crocodile awareness program needed to ensure people were aware of sightings and the dangers posed by the animals. “The locals are aware but I just think that if there are sightings, we need to make sure that the rest of the community knows where they are,” she said.