A terrified mum told today how she almost crashed her car in shock – after spotting the infamous Bristol crocodile.
Shaken Kelly Gray, 41, spotted the 6ft long reptile poking its head above water as she drove home close to the River Avon.
The croc, which was swimming down stream, briefly pushed its head above the water level, giving the mum-of-three a clear glimpse.
It happened just 400 yards from where a bus driver claimed to have seen the mystery croc on Monday.
Kelly said: “I had heard all about the Bristol crocodile but I did not think that much about it. But I was driving along the road and I just happened to look out across the river.
“I could see the crocodile and it was poking its head above the water.
“I know it sounds a bit daft but I swear I saw the crocodile – I was so stunned I nearly crashed the car. I was just shocked but I am convinced I saw something in the river.
“He was swimming along the river and he just put his head above the water. He was about six feet long and I could see his eyes and his snout. I could see him quite clearly.”
Avon and Somerset police began a search on Monday after a bus driver flagged down an officer claiming to have spotted the large reptile under a bridge.
Officers searched for the animal but were unable to find any trace of the predator under Coronation Bridge, Bristol.
The police quickly established that Bristol Zoo, which is two miles away from where the ‘croc’ was spotted, was not missing any animals.
On Tuesday officers – in full riot gear – launched a second hunt after another sighting was reported in Eastville Park across the city – but this turned out to be a hoax.
But just a day later Kelly, from Bishopsworth, claims she is convinced she saw the creature as she was drove past the entrance to St Mary Redcliffe School.
The self-employed book-keeper said she was so stunned she drove home and rang her mother straight away to tell her what happened.
She said: “My mother told me I should tell someone what happened. If there really is a crocodile out there then she said people should know about it and take care.
“I saw the crocodile close to the school gates and people should know that there is something to all of this. I am convinced that I actually saw the thing.”
Both Clifton Zoo and Noah’s Ark Zoo in the city moved quickly to stress that any crocodile or alligator on the loose had nothing to do with them.
Both zoos have confirmed that all their animals are accounted for. Last night Bristol Aquarium also said it was not missing any animals – but offered to give the croc a temporary home if it is caught.