MANILA - A crocodile killed a fisherman in the Philippines and was discovered by coast guard workers with the man still locked in its jaws, an official said Saturday.
The coast guard first noticed an empty rowing boat rocking in the Rio Tuba river in the western island of Palawan late Thursday, said Lieutenant Greanata Jude.
When they approached, they found the fisherman's body tied to the vessel and in the mouth of the 12-to-15 feet (around four metres) crocodile who was trying to wrest the body away, Jude said.
"On the side of the boat was the body of the victim being bitten by a crocodile. The body was tied to the boat," she told AFP.
The coast guard fired a gun at the reptile, which caused it to release the body and flee.
They recovered the body but it was not clear if the crocodile was hurt, she added.
The fisherman was from a nearby village and had gone diving for sea cucumbers. He had tied the line to his boat to keep it from drifting away while he was underwater, coast guard official Jude said.
The boat apparently drifted from the sea into the Rio Tuba river although it is not clear where the fisherman encountered the crocodile, she added.
The river, about 730 kilometres (455 miles) west of Manila, is known to be inhabited by deadly saltwater crocodiles which sometimes attack humans.
In June, 2011, in the same area, a local man was gathering wood when he was killed by a crocodile. The body was recovered by villagers but the reptile escaped.
The saltwater crocodile is found throughout Asia but the western island of Palawan, often called the Philippines' last frontier for its many forested areas, is one of the few areas where the animal is still common after suffering from hunting and habitat loss elsewhere.