Missing Australian child feared attacked by crocodile, police say

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Police in Australia's Northern Territory said on Wednesday a missing 12-year-old child was reportedly attacked by a crocodile and a search and rescue operation was underway.

The child was reported missing on Tuesday evening after swimming in a creek in Palumpa, a remote town of around 350 people seven hours by road from the territory capital Darwin.

"Local officers are on scene and our thoughts are with the family and the community," senior sergeant Erica Gibson said in a statement.

"Officers are currently searching a large section of the creek via boat and we thank the community for their ongoing assistance."

There are more than 100,000 crocodiles - which can grow up to 6 metres (20 ft) long - in the vast Northern Territory, though fatal attacks are relatively rare.

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal in Sydney; Editing by Sonali Paul)