British journalist dies following crocodile attack

Paul McClean died while on holiday with friends in Sri Lanka

British journalist dies following crocodile attack

Image: Paul McClean/Twitter

A man has died after being attacked by a crocodile while on holiday in Sri Lanka.

Paul McClean, a British journalist working at the Financial Times, had reportedly arrived on the island a few days earlier with friends.

Mr McClean, an Oxford University graduate with a first-class degree in French, joined the newspaper as a graduate trainee two years ago and was most recently working for the fastFT news service.

The Foreign Office said: "We are assisting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Sri Lanka."

Some reports say the victim, believed to be in his 20s, had gone to wash his hands in a lagoon, known both as Crocodile Rock and as Elephant Rock.

Fawas Lafeer, former chairman at the Arugam Bay Surf Club, was quoted as saying: "A local fisherman witnessed a man being dragged into a river, set back from the beach, by a crocodile.

"The fisherman was on the opposite side of the river and downstream of the incident location. The police were called immediately.

"This is the first-known crocodile attack in Sri Lanka. Both tourists and locals surf at Elephant Rock, which is a beautiful secluded beach and very safe.

"Crocodiles in Sri Lanka live only in the fresh, back waters of the jungle. It is almost unheard of for them to come close to the beach. The salt water actually turns them blind.

"Local search and rescue teams are working alongside the police and British Embassy in an attempt to locate the man's body."

A manager at the Star Dust Beach Hotel in Arugam Bay, a town a short distance from Elephant Rock, said the man was trying to take a picture of an elephant when he went into the lagoon and "was taken by a crocodile."

He said a colleague told him a body had been found but is yet to be identified by police.