Paul McClean, a reporter with the Financial Times, died Thursday after he was abruptly ambushed by a crocodile while he was on vacation in Sri Lanka, the newspaper said.
McClean, 24, had went outside to a lagoon to wash his hands when he was attacked by the reptile. The lagoon is known as Crocodile Rock.
The vacationing journalist was seen by friends waving his hands in the air for help before he was pulled into the water.
A surf school owner said Thursday’s was the first known crocodile attack in Sri Lanka.
“Crocodiles in Sri Lanka live only in the fresh, back waters of the jungle. It is almost unheard of for them to come close to the beach,” he said.
“Paul was a natural. He had charm, curiosity and an attention to detail — the essential ingredients for a top reporter. He was family,” FT Editor Lionel Barber said. “We will miss him sorely.”
McClean was described by his editors and co-workers as a talented journalist. Some colleagues called him a “hell of a reporter” and “an inspiration to us all.”
“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and loved ones,” James Lamont, the FT’s managing editor, said. “We are in touch with them, doing all we can to help during this difficult time.”
McClean, a graduate of Britain’s prestigious Oxford University, joined the Financial Times in 2015.
By Sara Shayanian