Local officials in eastern Indonesia say a crocodile swallowed a 10-year-old girl while she swam in a river. (Reuters)
Local officials in eastern Indonesia say a crocodile swallowed a 10-year-old girl while she swam in a river. (Reuters)

A wild crocodile has swallowed a 10-year-old girl in eastern Indonesia as her father watched helplessly.

The girl, Juraida, was swimming in the Wailolong river when the giant crocodile attacked and swallowed her whole.

The 10-year-old was hunting for turtles with her father and brother when the crocodile targeted the girl.

"Juraida was seized when she was in about a half-meter of water at the river's mouth... Her father and brother could only watch helplessly," said Viktor Mado Waton, Lembata district official, speaking to the Jakarta Post.

According to Mado Waton, rescuers could only find the girl's dress and hair ribbon three hours later, around 200 metres from where the incident took place. Her body has yet to be found.

Last month, a 12-year-old boy was also killed and eaten buy a crocodile while swimming in the same river with friends. Villagers living near to the river have reported a loss of livestock in recent weeks as well.

People have been warned to stay away from the river and Indonesian authorities are working to shut the area off to prevent further incidents.