Villagers have described how they watched in horror as a crocodile killed and ate a fisherman before their eyes.
The 20ft beast could be seen clenching the victim between its jaws on the island of Borneo, his legs dangling from its jaws.
Sidi Samat, a grandfather, had gone to the Batang Samarahan river, 30 miles from the town of Kuching, to try to catch fish for the family’s supper.
He was standing waist deep in the water when the attack occurred.
Relatives and villages rushed to the river after the alarm was raised but when they saw Mr Samat’s legs dangling from the crocodile’s mouth they realised he was beyond help.
‘We saw a huge crocodile in the middle of the river,’ villager Mr Ismail Awang told Malaysia’s The Star newspaper yesterday.
‘I saw Sidi’s legs inside the mouth of the crocodile and it was obvious he was too far in for us to help him. We could not reach him.’
Mr Awang said he prayed and talked to the crocodile in the hope that it would return Mr Samat alive to the river bank.
‘It did come to the shore but before we could do anything, it immersed itself in the river, taking Sidi with it.’
Mr Samat’s distraught wife Dayang Sara, 60, wept by the river bank when she saw her husband’s fishing equipment lying there.
‘He had gone fishing at the river at about 6.30am,’ she said.
‘He normally returns home in less than an hour, but when he did not come back after 8am I called for help to look for him.’
Crocodiles are a common sight in the area but they have never ventured up the river banks.
Villagers know they lurk in the river and are always keeping a watch out for them.
A giant crocodile, known as the Easy-Going Bachelor because it moved very slowly and did not have a mate, killed up to eight people in the 1970s, avoiding all attempts to kill it until a team of specialist police managed to blow it up with grenades.