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Formula One fan swings swan by neck

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Spectators say a drunk man grabbed a swan by the neck and swung it above his head "in a cruel attack" at the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday.

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Racegoer Leanne Wickenden said she saw a man pick up a bird and swing it two or three times before flinging it into Albert Park lake as she left the track.

"To witness such disgusting behavior was very upsetting and for me ruined what was otherwise a great festival weekend," she posted on the event's Facebook page. "I hope the girl who took photos of this creep manages to get him punished for such a cruel attack on this beautiful creature."

Australian Grand Prix CEO Andrew Westacott said the organization had received two reports -- one on its Facebook page and one to the emergency control center -- between about 5:00pm and 8:00pm Sunday and was investigating.

He said it was unlikely the "unacceptable" act would have been caught on CCTV so is asking anyone who saw the incident or took photos to come forward.

"Firstly I'd say it's totally unacceptable behavior and I was sickened to hear what had occurred, which is that people were tormenting swans and grabbing them by their neck and swinging them around," Westacott said.

A police spokeswoman said officers received a report of patrons tormenting birdlife about 5:00pm. She said officers attended but were "unable to detect any offense."

Westacott said Parks Victoria were checking over all the swans to look for any injuries. He added that CCTV footage was also being reviewed.

Formula One's season opener was won by McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button.



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