TOURISTS often unknowingly dice with death as tour guides keep watch with torches inside crocodile-infested lagoons in Mexico, it has been revealed.
Numerous people have been killed or seriously injured in at least 25 unprovoked attacks by wild American crocs along the coastline of Oaxaca since 2004.
According to data compiled by Alejandra Buenrostro and Jesus Garcia-Grajales from the University of Mexico, five of the incidents were fatal.
In the latest attack, two British twin sisters were savaged by a crocodile while swimming on Sunday night in Manialtepec Lagoon – ten miles from Puerto Escondido.
Georgia Laurie, 28, saved her unconscious sister Melissa by repeatedly punching the predator while dragging her out of the water.
The pair are both recovering in hospital in Mexico, with Georgia suffering injuries to her hands while Melissa has been placed in a medically-induced coma.
Manialtepec Lagoon is famous for its bioluminescent waters caused by millions of tiny creatures that glow in the dark.
And swimmers who visit the Manialtepec Lagoon are warned that crocodiles up to ten feet long live there.
The twins’ older sister, Hana Laurie, 33, said her younger siblings had booked the tour through their hostel.
But the women later found out the tour guide was not registered – and had taken them to an “unsafe” swimming spot which was not approved.
A source told The Sun Online there was a known crocodile risk in the lagoon and tour guides keep watch for the predators using torches.
“What a horrendous story. I have swum there very briefly in the bioluminescence,” the source said.
“I knew there was a croc risk because I knew the coast but all the tour guides denied it – but I saw the guides looking for them with torches.”
But Georgia and Melissa’s dad Sean, 63, of Sandhurst, Berkshire, said his daughters were assured by their tour company that there were no crocodiles in the water.
“The girls asked specifically if it was safe to go swimming and the guide had said it was,” he told Mail Online.
The study by Buenrostro and Garcia-Grajales found crocodiles attacks were often related to fishing activity – and the victims are usually men.
The authors also found that a higher proportion of children were fatally attacked, compared to adults, and the attacks were related to nesting and rainy reasons.
“In Oaxaca state, an unknown number of incidents are not reported, probably due to minor injuries that may not require hospitalisation,” the report says.
“The northwest coast appears to have the most extensive crocodile habitat on the coast of Oaxaca, and this aligns with the highest proportion of attacks reported there.
“Most likely, the mangroves, lagoons, floodplains and swamps are better and more suitable habitats for crocodile populations.”
A four-year-old was dragged into a lagoon and killed by a crocodile near the town of El Ciruelo in 2018, according to Mexico News Daily.
In 2019, a 65-year-old fisherman was attacked by a two-metre croc on the Boca Barra beach in Santa María Colotepec, near the popular tourist destination of Puerto Escondido.
The man suffered lacerations to his arm, leg and head from the crocodile’s teeth and claws – but he survived.
Roaming crocodiles also took over the beach in in La Ventanilla for the first time in decades last year amid the Covid lockdown.