Paul McClean, 24, who worked in London for the Financial Times, had been on a surfing holiday in the popular eastern coastal area of Arugambay when the incident occurred on Thursday, the navy said. His body was found on Friday.
“The navy was able to recover the body of a foreigner who had been snatched by a crocodile on September 14,” the Sri Lankan navy said in a statement.
The BBC quoted an eyewitness as saying local people had heard him screaming for help as he was pulled into the river.
“By the time they went to the spot where the croc attacked, they couldn’t save him because already the crocodile had pulled him inside the water so they couldn’t see what was going on,” it quoted Fawas Lafeer, the owner of a surf school, as saying.
McClean, an Oxford University graduate with a first-class degree in French, joined the FT as a graduate trainee two years ago and worked most recently for the fastFT news service.
The FT’s managing editor James Lamont described McClean as “a talented, energetic and dedicated young journalist” who had had “a great career ahead of him” at the newspaper.
“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and loved ones,” Lamont said.