MEXICO CITY (AP) — Two British women are recovering from a crocodile attack in a lagoon along Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, an official said Wednesday.
The two women were visiting the Manialtepec lagoon near the surf and beach destination of Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca state when the attack occurred late Sunday, reported Said Silva, the head of the local civil defense office.
The lagoon is known for its stands of mangroves and for brackish waters that turn bioluminescent at some times of the year.
Silva said witnesses told officials the two Britons were swimming when one was attacked by a crocodile. The second woman was injured trying to assist the first.
“It must have been a smaller animal, because if it had been a big one, she would not have resurfaced,” said Silva, whose office responds many times each year to crocodiles entering human-occupied areas around the lagoon.
One of the women underwent surgery and was in an induced coma, Silva said. Mexican authorities have not identified the victims.
The BBC reported that the women are twin sisters Melissa and Georgia Laurie, 28, who had been volunteering and traveling in Mexico.
Hana Laurie, the twins’ elder sister, told the broadcaster that the two were swimming when the crocodile grabbed Melissa and dragged her under.
She said Georgia “started hitting” the animal to save her sister and fought it off as it attacked again.
“Georgia punched the crocodile repeatedly as it came back three times to attack, while friends of theirs went to get help,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
Georgia had been released from a hospital, she said, but Melissa remained in a critical condition because her bite wounds had become infected and she developed sepsis.
Silva said that because it is rainy season, the tourists may have run afoul of a female crocodile defending its nest. “It may have felt attacked,” he said.