Saltwater crocodile
The Saltwater Crocodile is one of Australia's deadliest animals Getty Images

A 35-year-old man has been found dead after a suspected crocodile attack in Australia, police said.

The victim is believed to be a spear fisherman whose boat was found empty off Palmer Point, in far-north Queensland, on Saturday (18 March). The man's spear gun was found floating nearby.

An air and sea rescue operation was launched, and police found his body on Monday (20 March) near the vessel.

Queensland Police said they were searching for a crocodile more than four metres long.

A large crocodile was found by wildlife officers near the man's boat, Dr Matt Brien from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said, 9 News reported.

"The animal charged and behaved quite aggressively…it appeared to have something in its mouth," Dr Brien said.

If found, the animal will be captured or killed, police said.

Also on Saturday an 18-year-old man, Lee de Paauw, survived a different crocodile attack about 40 miles (65km) away from the fatality. Witnesses told local media he had jumped into crocodile-infested waters as a dare.

De Paauw suffered lacerations and fractures when the crocodile bit his arm, and underwent surgery in hospital.

"I hit it once on the nose [and] it loosened a bit," Mr de Paauw told radio station Nova FM on Monday.

"I got another hit in and it was right on its eye. I was lucky because it just dropped me."

If a crocodile is confirmed as responsible, the fatal attack is the ninth in Queensland since 1985.

Crocodiles are a protected species in Australia, which has led to their populations exploding in recent years in the tropical north of the country.

Lee De Paauw
Lee De Paauw Facebook/Lee De Paauw