A teenager was pulled from her boat by a 3-metre crocodile near the Victoria Falls in Zambia.
Midday on Tuesday Amelie Osborn-Smith, 18, from Hampshire had been on a guided kayaking trip, when she was pulled from the boat into a “death roll” on the riverbed.
Osborn-Smith was reportedly dangling her leg over the edge of the boat when she was seized.
Guides and fellow kayakers reportedly jumped to her aid, trying to free her from the crocodile’s jaws.
Her father osteopath Brent Osborn-Smith and mother German baroness Veronika von Pfetten-Arnbach, are preparing to repatriate their daughter for medical treatment in the UK, reported The Times.
“She is receiving very good medical care in Zambia,” Brent Osborn-Smith told the newspaper, but the family was “doing its best to get her repatriated within the next 24 hours”.
It is hoped their daughter’s foot may have been saved.
A witness who was part of the kayaking trip said a friend jumped to Amelie’s aid when they saw her in trouble.
“As soon as it happened he dived under the water and started punching the crocodile furiously,” they told The Sun.
Aerial view of Victoria Falls and the Zambezi river, a popular attraction in Zimbabwe. Photo / Getty Images
Their effort was rewarded and the crocodile relinquished its grip.
“Then others jumped in to help. It was chaos. There was blood and people thrashing everywhere. She is lucky to be alive.”
The 18-year-old who was a St Swithun’s School-leaver was on a trip with a private rafting company based out of Livingston.
The Zambezi river has become a popular attraction for rafters near the Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfalls.
It is rare for large crocodiles to be seen in this part of the river, below the waterfalls.
While exact events are still unclear, it’s believed the backpacker had been dangling her foot in the water to cool off during the hot Zambian afternoon.
Her father told The Times his daughter had been pulled from the boat by her foot.
“She may have been sitting on the edge of the boat and the crocodile saw her leg and thought, ‘There’s lunch’.”
In spite of severe leg injuries her limb had been saved after being evacuated to a hospital in the capital Lusaka.
Observers say the backpacker was “very lucky to get rescued”. Once clamped in a “death roll” few animals escape the jaws of a crocodile.
It is a unique method of hunting employed by all crocodiles, Scientific American describes it as a “powerful and violent twisting that wrenches limbs from sockets and muscle from bone”.