Rajnagar: A 55-year-old woman died after being dragged by a crocodile into the Hansua river in Rajnagar of Kendrapara district on Thursday morning.
According to reports, the deceased woman has been identified as Janaki Jena (55), wife of Kailash Jena of Jharapada village in Mahulia panchayat of Rajnagar block.
Sources said that at around 9 am, Janaki had gone to water the vegetable plantation in the backyard of their house on the banks of the Hansua River. But, she did not return home for a long time and also went missing from the backyard farm.
The family members along with some locals then carried out a frantic search in the river banks. In the meanwhile, they spotted a giant crocodile near a bush with a half-eaten body in its jaws, sources added.
On intimation, firefighters and forest officials arrived at the scene and retrieved the half-eaten body of the woman. The tragic death of the woman in the crocodile attack has cast a shadow of mourning in the locality.
It may be mentioned here that the Bhitarkanika National Park and the adjoining Mahanadi deltaic region are home to 1,768 saltwater crocodiles. Lethal assault by the reptiles remains a regular feature in this part of the state.
Loss of human lives is most frequently recorded during the monsoon and winter months, the nesting season of the estuarine crocodiles. Often, the mishaps occur when the victims intrude into the animal habitats, for illegal fishing, poaching, wood collection and honey collection, they said. The animals, in the wake of depleted food reserves in the river system, stray into nearby rivulets and nullahs.