Financial Times journalist killed by crocodile in Sri Lanka

‘Accomplished’ reporter Paul McClean, 24, dragged into water while washing his hands

Sri Lanka
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A young Financial Times reporter on holiday with friends in Sri Lanka was dragged into a lagoon and killed by a crocodile yesterday.

The body of Oxford University graduate Paul McClean, from Thames Ditton in Surrey, was found hours later by a Sri Lankan navy search team, the BBC reports.

Wildlife officials estimate that crocodiles kill as many as 1,000 people every year, 100 times more than the number of people killed by sharks, says Business Insider.

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Fishermen who claimed to have witnessed the incident said McClean was “waving his hands in the air” in desperation after being pulled into Crocodile Rock lagoon, near popular surfing spot Arugam Bay, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Fawas Lafeer, who owns the Safa Surf School near the river, told BBC Radio 5 Live that McClean had been washing his hands when the crocodile grabbed him. Lafeer said three other people had been attacked and injured by crocodiles in the same location.

The FT confirmed McClean’s death in a statement online, describing him as an “an accomplished young reporter” who had been “tireless when mastering a new beat, investing weeks in understanding aviation issues to produce a groundbreaking piece explaining the implications of Brexit on the sector”.

“McClean established a reputation as a rising star with in-depth exclusives including his revelation that Britain would have to renegotiate no fewer than 759 treaties with 168 countries after its vote to leave the EU,” the statement said. “The startling figures were widely followed by other media outlets, including John Oliver’s satirical show, Last Week Tonight.”

The paper added that McClean’s body had been identified by friends with whom he was holidaying, with the final cause of his death not yet established.

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Financial Times editor Lionel Barber expressed his condolences on Twitter, saying the young reporter would be “sorely missed”.

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