Human remains found in large Australian croc

Australian authorities are searching crocodile-infested waters and mangrove forests for people seen fleeing their boat after it ran aground (AFP Photo/SAEED KHAN) (AFP/File)

Human remains were found Tuesday in a large crocodile that police believe killed an elderly woman who wandered away from her aged-care home in northeast Australia.

Clothing and a walking stick belonging to Anne Cameron, who suffered from dementia, were discovered by a creek near the tourist town of Port Douglas in Queensland state last week.

Police made the grisly find after a 4.3-metre (14-foot) animal was removed by wildlife officers from the Mowbray River.

"The estuarine crocodile, which is believed to be the one involved in the death of 79-year-old Anne Cameron, was examined by a specialist in Cairns today with human remains being located inside," police said.

"Investigations continue with officers preparing a report for the coroner."

Cameron, who was last seen a week ago, had wandered from her care facility in the past but it was not clear how she came to be in the remote bushland where her belongings were found.

Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven metres long and weigh more than a tonne, are a common feature of the vast continent's tropical north and kill an average of two people a year.

Their numbers have exploded since they were declared a protected species in the 1970s and the woman's disappearance has reignited calls to control them.

But her family have said they do not want to see any crocs culled.

"The crocodiles... are not responsible for being crocodiles, and doing what crocodiles do," her son Craig Eggins said, according to the Cairns Post.