Tourists have been warned to stay out of the water at Phuket's northern beaches after a large three-metre crocodile was spotted in the sea on Monday.
According to the Phuket Wan, the animal was seen at Mai Khao beach in Thailand, and the sighting was confirmed by authorities.
The alarm was raised by an employee at Maikhao Dream Villa Resort and Spa Phuket, at the southern end of Mai Khao Beach.
Kritsada Boonta, a 25-year-old officer at the nearby Mai Khao Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) rescue centre, told the Phuket Gazette: "A crocodile was seen a few hundred meters from shore.
"Tourists and local villagers were frightened. They couldn't stop looking at it."
Mr Boonta said he and other rescue workers took a boat out to keep an eye on the animal. He added: "We couldn't get near enough to the croc to catch it because the noise from the boat's engine warned it that we were coming near, causing it to dive."
Local villagers reportedly believe the crocodile left the swamp marsh surrounding the Pru Jae Son Lake, several hundred metres north of where it was seen.
The lake is connected to the beach, leading one villager to suggest it could have left the lake with fast-flowing water as the tide went out.
Dolphins, turtles, and even elephants have been seen swimming at Mai Khao beaches, but this is the first time a crocodile sighting has been reported.
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