Wild dogs kill boy at popular Australia tourist spot

Monday, April 30th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) _ Wild dogs chased and killed a 9-year-old boy and later mauled his brother Monday at a popular tourist spot in eastern Australia, police said.

The 9-year-old was walking with a friend near their camping site on Fraser Island when two dingoes emerged from bushes and followed them, said police. They ran, but one tripped and was caught and mauled to death by the dingoes. The other boy escaped uninjured and raised the alarm.

The father of the missing boy ran to the scene with his 6-year-old son and found his older son dead, police said. The dingoes, still lurking in nearby bushes, attacked the younger son. The 6-year-old was flown by helicopter to a hospital and treated for multiple bites to the arms and legs.

``The family is in a state of shock,'' said police Inspector Pat Ryan.

Police marksmen aided by Aborigine trackers later killed two dingoes on Fraser Island, the scene of a spate of attacks on humans, mainly children. Forensic tests were being carried out on the dead dingoes to determine whether they were the ones who attacked the boys.

``They were destroyed in the vicinity of where the attack took place this morning, and we believe they were the most likely animals responsible for this attack,'' Ryan said.

Packs of dingoes roam many parts of Australia, but there is only one other case in modern times of the animals killing humans.

Some 200 dingoes live on Fraser Island, off the northeast coast. A German tourist was bitten by dingoes on the island in February 1999, and a 3-year-old Norwegian girl was attacked in 1998.

Rangers on the island kill dingoes that appear aggressive to humans and about 40 of the animals have been destroyed during the past 10 years, officials said.

Some residents said the dingoes attack people because they are starving, but others said tourists try to get too close to them. Hotel owner Norma Hannant said some try to pose for photographs with dingoes.

``They are bold, they get within six feet of you and they can sense the fright in a person, and (that is) the very person they will attack,'' she said.

Police said they did not have the power to order tourists off the island, but urged people to leave or cancel visits.

Flights over the island were banned to stop journalists visiting the scene.