The missing crocodile attack victim’s father, Pat Waldron, described his daughter as an impulsive person who would ‘do crazy things’ and that had cost the photographer her life.
Ms Waldron was dragged underwater by a crocodile on Sunday night after she and her friend Leann Mitchell decided to take a dip in the ocean at Thornton Beach, in the Daintree National Park, 130km north of Cairns.
Mr Waldron, who has arrived from New Zealand in Cairns with Ms Waldron’s mother Heather and sister Anna-Lee Annett, told ABC News that he was unsure whether his daughter was aware of the risks of taking a late-night swim in Queensland’s crocodile country.
‘She’d do crazy things. And what she didthere is a crazy thing, absolutely,’ Mr Waldron told ABC radio. ‘But that was her.
‘I can imagine they had had a few drinks running down the beach. They wouldn’t swim because she didn’t like swimming, didn’t like the water.’
Ms Annett described the tragedy as ‘probably the most heartbreaking, horrendous thing that’s ever happened … in our family’
The Waldrons will travel north with police to Thornton Beach as the grim search for her remains continues.
‘We need to be there on the ground to show that we are there, that we care,’ Mr Waldron told the NZ Herald. ‘Our darling girl is gone.’
Cindy Waldron had been visiting her childhood friend Leeann Mitchell, 47, in north Queensland to celebrate Ms Mitchell’s end of cancer treatment with a break in the Daintree National Park.
The pair were walking arm-in-arm in knee-deep water along the beach shortly after dinner when Ms Mitchell claims she felt something brush past her leg.
‘They’d only been in the water for no more than a minute (before the attack),’ Senior Constable Russell Parker said, according to The Australian.
Ms Waldron and Ms Mitchell were childhood friends in Hamilton in New Zealand.
Ms Mitchell’s cousin, Alan Frost, told the New Zealand Herald she was unhurt in the incident after the pair waded into the water that was known to have a high population of crocodiles.
Despite Ms Mitchell’s desperate efforts to free her friend from the predator’s clutches, Ms Waldron was dragged away as she screamed, ‘a croc’s got me, a croc’s got me’, 9News reported.
Ms Mitchell was taken to Mossman Hospital following the attack, suffering from shock and minor grazes.
‘She has got good friends around her,’ Mr Frost said. ‘Leeann is a really good person, she has some really good support around her.’
Cindy Waldron with childhood friend Leeann Mitchell
Following the attack, federal MP Warren Entsch said the attack must not spark a hysterical debate about crocodile management in his electorate.
‘You can’t legislate against human stupidity,’ he told AAP on Monday.
‘This is a tragedy but it was avoidable. There are warning signs everywhere up there.’
Mr Entsch said he feared the attack might spark a reactive debate about how to manage crocodiles, but people must remember the attack happened inside a national park in an area where visitors are warned about the dangers.
‘Let’s not start vendettas. It’s hard enough for some families to make a quid up there in the Daintree, showcasing crocs in their environment,’ he said.
‘People have to have some level of responsibility for their own actions.’
On Monday, Senior Constable Russell Parker revealed details about the struggle which saw the 46-year-old woman taken away by a crocodile.
‘Her 47-year-old friend tried to grab her and drag her to safety and she just wasn’t able to do that,’ he told ABC radio.
‘They had been walking along the beach and they’ve decided to go for a swim… [it was] probably a very nice, clear night, but obviously [they] may not have been aware of the dangers.
‘We believe they were visiting the area and weren’t local to it.’
Queensland Ambulance service said Ms Mitchell was extremely traumatised, having watched her friend being pulled out into the ocean.
Acting Inspector Ed Lukin said the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection had organised for crocodile traps to arrive on Tuesday afternoon.
‘We expect to have them in the water, tide dependent, between 5 and 7pm tonight and they’ll be on the water as well until 2am,’ he said.
Ms Waldron’s suspected death makes the second fatality involving a crocodile in a fortnight.
On May 17, Noel Ramage, 72, drowned after a crocodile reportedly overturned the boat he and his mate were in while crabbing near Gunn Point, about 40km northeast of Darwin.
The Victorian man was trapped under the capsized tinnie and drowned while his 72-year-old friend hurled spanners and spark plugs at the croc in a desperate bid to keep it at bay.
The friend was trapped in muddy mangroves for three hours before he was rescued.