The body of an Amazonian fisherman who had been missing for days after his vessel was attacked by pirates has been found being eaten by a 10-foot-long caiman.
Fisherman Elias Araujo reportedly disappeared after being attacked by pirates, and it is unclear if they murdered him and threw his body in the water or whether he was attacked by the reptile while fleeing.
He had been missing since last Saturday (16th October), but his remains have now been found by locals on the banks of the Rio Negro (Black River) during its course through the municipality of Novo Airao in the Brazilian state of Amazonas.
The fisherman’s body was spotted being devoured by a black caiman (Melanosuchus niger) by locals, who said that the reptile was over 3 metres (10 feet) long.
The local chief of police, Renato Simoes, confirmed that the fisherman’s body had been found, according to local media reports.
Araujo was declared missing on Saturday after being attacked by so-called ‘river pirates’, according to local media outlet Fala Piaui, which added that a search team put together by the local fire department confirmed that his body had been found.
Araujo and his friend, named as Roberto Jose (surname not stated), were attacked on Friday by over seven men, with Roberto Jose escaping into a forested area and being found alive on Saturday, according to local media outlet Portal Tucuma.
The news site reported that he was terrified and in a state of shock. He was taken to the Regional Hospital of Novo Airao and was discharged two days later.
Locals also helped with the search, and after the corpse was found being eaten by the caiman, it was captured, killed and opened so that the ingested remains could be retrieved.
The body parts are being sent to the Coroner’s Office in the state capital, Manaus, to be analysed.
The police are currently investigating the circumstances of the fisherman’s disappearance.
The black caiman is one of the largest extant crocodilians. Its teeth are designed to grab but not chew, so it generally tries to drown or crush its food before swallowing it.
In the case of large prey, the caiman stores it so its flesh can rot enough to allow the reptile to take bites out of it.