The alleged crocodile attack is the second in Sri Lanka this year

The alleged crocodile attack is the second in Sri Lanka this year
The body of the Financial Times reporter who is believed to have been dragged into a lagoon and killed by a crocodile has been found by Sri Lankan police.

Journalist and Oxford University graduate Paul McClean, 24, was discovered in the coastal village of Panama on Friday, with wounds on one of his legs.

Divers found Mr McClean's corpse in a muddy lagoon, 225 miles east of the capital Colombo.

A crocodile is believed to have dragged Mr McClean away on Thursday afternoon, the officer said, but a post-mortem examination is expected to formally establish the cause of death.

British media reports said Mr McClean, who worked for the Financial Times, was holidaying in Sri Lanka with friends.

Mr McClean was washing his hands in a lagoon or river set back from the beach in an area called Elephant Rock, a popular surfing area for British backpackers.

Witnesses said they saw the 24-year-old wave his arms in the air before vanishing under the water.

James Lamont, managing editor of the Financial Times, expressed his condolences on the loss of his colleague.

'Few details are known about the circumstances. We are liaising closely with his family and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and offering the FT's assistance.

'Our thoughts are with his family, friends and loved ones.

'We are in touch with them, doing all we can to help during this difficult time.'

Adding: Mr McClean was: 'a talented, energetic and dedicated young journalist,' that he had 'a great career ahead of him at the FT'.

He was described by Katie Martin, head of fastFT, as 'a warm, funny person and a talented young journalist with a curious mind,' and 'a joy to be around, truly, with an impish sense of humour'.

'He was one hell of a reporter if he was on your case,' said Brussels bureau chief Alex Barker.

'Paul was an inspiration to us all in the Brussels bureau, turning out some of the most original, insightful and deeply researched journalism on Brexit since the referendum.'

Adding: 'He had a rare gift: an eye for hidden stories, writing flair and the charm to make people tell him anything and everything.'

Mr McClean had 'magnificant' French which helped his reporting, the bureau chief continued, which helped with his 'fabulous run-in with the National Front man there who supported Brexit but didn't quite grasp what renationalising waters would mean for his home town.'

A spokesperson for Jean-Claude Juncker, from the European Commission, said: 'Paul was an extremely dedicated and talented young journalist. He had an exceptional eye for detail and never shied away from difficult stories.

'But above all, Paul was a gentleman and an absolute pleasure to work with. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by all in the spokespersons' service and in the wider Brussels community.'

Fawas Lafeer, owner of Safa Surf School, near the scene, said: 'He was learning to surf and after that he wanted to go to the toilet.

'He went in the jungle, about 800 meters. It was when he was washing his hands that the crocodile took him.

'A local fisherman witnessed a man being dragged into a river, set back from the beach, by a crocodile.

The fisherman was on the opposite side of the river and downstream.

'The police were called immediately. They can't do anything because the river is deep and murky, it is not very clear.'

He added: 'They have sent out the Navy, Army and the task force, but I doubt they will find the body.

'The crocodiles take the bodies along river and hide them in the mud, so I don't think he will be found until the day after tomorrow.

'This is the first time anything like this has happened, Elephant Rock is always safe to surf.'

Another British tourist, who did not wish to give his name, said: 'A British tourist was at a surf spot called Elephant Rock.

'There's a lagoon right next to the sea. He went to the toilet next to the lagoon and was grabbed by a crocodile.

'There are lots in the lagoon. People last saw his arms in the air in the water and then was grabbed under...

'They are searching for a body but haven't found anything yet.

'The army were down and there are people put on boats checking the shore because crocodile won't eat anything in water - they will take it on to dry land to eat prey.

'They are 90 per cent sure it was a crocodile but a couple of the guys said there was quicksand in the lagoon.'

'A few people that knew the guy were just on the ground, I didn't get that close but they all just seemed in shock and not saying much.

'There were a large crowd of Sri Lankan men surrounding them and they had bits of paper.'

Another shocked man, Sean Carroll, from New South Wales, Australia, wrote on Facebook: 'A croc just took a tourist bloke in Sri Lanka.

'He was walking on a beach where a small river meets the sea, it's named Crocodile Rock for that reason obviously.

'He still hasn't been retrieved from river. Heavy.'

'I'm sure he was close to the river for it to take him. Police looking and army too.'

There are two different kinds of crocodile that live in Sri Lanka, the Marsh, or 'Mugger', crocodile and the estuarine crocodile.

There are believed to be thousands of marsh crocodiles spread throughout various water bodies in the island.

In April of this year, a 13-year-old girl was attacked and dragged away by a crocodile while she was enjoying a day out with her family at Pulnewa Lake, in Galnewa.

The girl was reported missing by her family, who said they saw her being dragged into the water by the large reptile.

Prior to this, in July 2016, a 60-year-old Sri Lankan man was also killed in a crocodile attack.

He had been fishing in the Paayindan River in Sammanthurai when he was attacked.

In November 2016 a 17 foot crocodile, which weighed nearly a ton, was found jammed in a waterway in the southern city of Matara.