Local resident Somchai Choomrak, 55, reported the sighting to the 191 police emergency hotline after arriving at the northern end of Layan beach to go fishing near the mouth of the canal at about 2:30pm.
Mr Somchai said he had walked out into the water to cast a net in the canal when he saw the crocodile on the beach near the rocks on Koh Kata, located some 50 metres offshore.
The crocodile was about one metre long and its body was dark black, he said.
“At first I didn’t think it was a crocodile, but as I walked closer the crocodile turned and plunged into the water. The sound was so loud that it could be heard clearly in the canal,” he added.
Mr Somchai pointed out that two crocodiles had been caught at Koh Kata in recent years.
In addition to calling the police, Mr Somchai also informed local officers at Sirinat National Park.
“I would like the responsible officers to come and find the crocodile as soon as possible in order to prevent them from attacking tourists in this area,” Mr Somchai said.
“There are tourists taking small children for a walk during low tide and if no one knows that in this canal there are crocodiles, they might go swimming and be bitten by a crocodile, or maybe lose someone they love for the rest of their lives,” he added
Mr Somchai said that while he was informing park officers he met a person who said that he saw something in the water that looked like a crocodile while windsurfing offshore.
One of the officers at Sirinat National Park who joined the search for the crocodile this morning told The Phuket News that the search party was unable to find any crocodiles in the area.
“But we did find two large monitor lizards,” the officer said.
Park rangers will continue to keep an eye for any crocodiles in the area, the officer assured.
A RETURN OF PHUKET CROCODILES
In March this year, a two-metre-long crocodile was spotted in the Chalong Pier marina area off Phuket’s southeast coast.
After weeks of searching, the ‘Kraithong Lumnamtapi’ expert croc catchers from the Department of Fisheries in Surat Thani failed to find the crocodile, and the search was called off.
At last report the crocodile was believed to have rounded the southern end of Phuket and was making its way up the west coast.
The team were also called in to help catch a crocodile seen at Saphan Hin last September. That croc was never caught.
Unlike in the hunt in 2018 for the female crocodile now named ‘Yanui’, no beaches were closed earlier this year while the search continued for Phuket’s latest crocodile at large.
Yanui took just days to make her way up the west coast to where she was caught off Layan Beach a week after she was spotted at the southern end of the island, stopping off at Kata Noi and passing Patong en route.
After an extensive 11-day hunt, Yanui was finally caught at Leypang Beach, right next to Layan and Bang Tao Beaches, in Cherng Talay, halfway up Phuket’s west coast.