Underwatertimes.com News Service - November 30, 2007 14:10 EST

A crocodile that escaped from a travelling circus in Ukraine and evaded capture for six months died on Friday after two days back in captivity, officials said.

\"The crocodile was lying in the water and suddenly he just floated to the surface,\" Oleksander Soldatov of Ukraine\'s Emergencies Ministry said in the eastern city of Donetsk.

\"We pulled it out of the water and the body felt all cold. It seems clear he was alive before and just died.\"

Ministry officials, unsure whether the crocodile was comatose or dead, had earlier called in a vet to examine the reptile. Nicknamed Godzilla or Godzi, it was captured alive this week after escaping from a travelling circus in May.

It had been spotted several times lurking around industrial sites near the city of Mariupol, on the coast of the Sea of Azov. But it repeatedly eluded search teams.

It was finally found basking in a pool at a thermal power station, where the water was warmer than the nearby sea.

The crocodile, which was over a metre (yard) long, was then taken 100 km (60 miles) by car to Donetsk where it was freed into a fire service tank.

The crocodile\'s owner, quoted by the daily Segodnya, said he could only collect it on Monday because of circus commitments.

Soldatov said Godzilla would be cremated.

\"This is an exotic animal. He simply cannot be buried,\" he said.

A crocodile that escaped from a travelling circus in Ukraine and evaded capture for six months died on Friday after two days back in captivity, officials said.

"The crocodile was lying in the water and suddenly he just floated to the surface," Oleksander Soldatov of Ukraine's Emergencies Ministry said in the eastern city of Donetsk.

"We pulled it out of the water and the body felt all cold. It seems clear he was alive before and just died."

Ministry officials, unsure whether the crocodile was comatose or dead, had earlier called in a vet to examine the reptile. Nicknamed Godzilla or Godzi, it was captured alive this week after escaping from a travelling circus in May.

It had been spotted several times lurking around industrial sites near the city of Mariupol, on the coast of the Sea of Azov. But it repeatedly eluded search teams.

It was finally found basking in a pool at a thermal power station, where the water was warmer than the nearby sea.

The crocodile, which was over a metre (yard) long, was then taken 100 km (60 miles) by car to Donetsk where it was freed into a fire service tank.

The crocodile's owner, quoted by the daily Segodnya, said he could only collect it on Monday because of circus commitments.

Soldatov said Godzilla would be cremated.

"This is an exotic animal. He simply cannot be buried," he said.