'Godzilla' Dies After 6 Months on the Run

DONETSK, Ukraine -- A crocodile that escaped from a traveling circus in Ukraine and evaded capture for six months died 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, an official with Ukraine's Emergency Situations Ministry, said in the eastern city of Donetsk.

The crocodile, nicknamed "Godzilla," or "Godzi," was captured alive earlier in the week after escaping from a traveling 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 more than a meter long, was then taken 100 kilometers by car to Donetsk, where it was freed into a tank of water used by firefighters.

The crocodile's owner said he could only collect it Monday because of circus commitments.

Soldatov said Godzilla would be cremated. "This is an exotic animal. He simply cannot be buried," he said.