British journalist killed by crocodile while washing his hands in Sri Lanka

British journalist killed by crocodile while washing his hands in Sri Lanka

British journalist killed by crocodile while washing his hands in Sri Lanka

Written by Kumudu Jayawardana

15 Sep, 2017 | 1:50 pm

Financial Times journalist was killed by a crocodile whilst washing his hands in a lagoon in Sri Lanka during a holiday with friends.

Paul McClean, 24, an Oxford University graduate, is believed to have wandered off from friends in order to go to the toilet, before being ambushed by the reptile as he dipped his hands in the water.

He is said to have been seen “waving his hands in the air” in desperation before being dragged under water at a lagoon known as Crocodile Rock, located just just minutes from a popular surfing beach.

It is believed Mr McClean had only arrived in the country within the last few days and was staying at a nearby hotel with a group of friends.

Raised in the Thames Ditton area of Surrey, he graduated from Oxford with a First Class Honours degree in French in 2015 before joining the FT later that year.

He most recently covered Brexit and the EU for the newspaper and had recently spent a couple of months living in Brussels before returning to London earlier this year.

His most recent article, about the champagne industry, was published on Tuesday.

A colleague of Mr McClean on the FT said: “We’re all totally stunned. He was a great kid, an Everton fan, super bright. It’s an absolute tragedy.”

Mr McClean’s brother, Neil, 22, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and has documented his fight against the disease in a light-hearted online blog.

Whilst in remission, he returned to his studies at Glasgow University but relapsed in 2016 and was waiting for a stem cell transplant after doctors said it was his best hope of a long-term recovery.

Their father Peter is director of a management consultancy firm and lives with their mother, Irene, in Surrey.

According to the uncorroborated reports, Mr McClean was in the area with a group of friends and had wandered away to find a toilet, and had stumbled into an area known to be infested with crocodiles.

Fawas Lafeer, owner of Safa Surf School, located up the coast from where the incident happened, said: “Yesterday afternoon at around 3.15 jp.m. there was an incident involving a tourist at Elephant Rock surf spot, near Arugam Bay.

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