A tour guide in a crocodile farm in South Africa was killed by the reptiles in one of their pools, authorities confirmed on 15 January.

Police suspect the crocodiles attacked 54-year-old Johan Burger while he was working in the pool, where his body was found in the morning of 14 January, local media reported.

Burger had been working at Le Bonheur Farm in Paarl, near Cape Town, for just over a year, on a part time basis, the farm said in a statement published on Facebook. He was a designer and executor of display areas in and around the crocodile ponds.

"Johan's passing is a huge shock to all that has worked with him and who knows him. We offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and friends. We would like to issue heartfelt thanks to everyone who have since offered their support; it is greatly appreciated during this traumatic time," the statement read.

The farm added it will be investigating the accident, and has suspended the croc pond tours for a week, until 21 January. Le Bonheur advertised its crocodile pond tours as housing more than 1,000 crocodiles in the dams. The animals are farmed for meat and leather products.

An outpouring of condolences followed the announcement on social media, with many former visitors to the farm remembering Berger as a "passionate worker", a "knowledgeable and patient guide", "who loved kids".

Le Bonheur remembered him as a "personal friend to many" and "a mentor to those who worked with him".