File picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters
File picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

WATCH: British teenager recalls 'death roll' with crocodile in Zambia

By Dominic Naidoo Time of article published Dec 7, 2021

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White-water rafting is already quite a dangerous sport without having to worry about the threat of snapping jaws lurking beneath the water.

Unfortunately, when you are white-water rafting through African rapids, being attacked by a crocodile is a very real concern.

Amelia Osborn-Smith, 18, was attacked by a crocodile while white-water rafting on the Zambezi River, downstream of the Zambian side of Victoria Falls.

The Hampshire teen was travelling through Southern Africa on a gap-year holiday with friends when the incident occurred.

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The attack left Osborn-Smith with a foot hanging loose and a dislocated hip. Professional guides had surveyed the area and deemed it safe for the group to take a swim in the water to cool off, this is when the attack occurred.

In an interview with The Guardian the teen’s father, Brent Osborn-Smith, said she was bitten on the leg “by a large crocodile, which attempted to drag her down into a characteristic death roll in order to subdue its prey.” The teen fought back and with the help of those on board the boat the crocodile attack was repulsed.

She was airlifted to hospital in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, about 380km away, where she is being treated for serious injuries to her leg and will then be flown back home to the UK.

Her father, Brent Osborn-Smith, told reporters: “She wasn’t actually swimming but just sitting on the boat and the crocodile saw her leg dangling in the water and thought: ‘There’s lunch.’

“She’s in a pretty bad state at the moment in Zambia and we’re doing our best to try and get her back to have some proper definitive care here, but obviously with a crocodile bite there’s a huge risk of infection and she’s got a very severely damaged leg. It’s quite a distressing situation.

In another incident in 2018, a British woman had her arm bitten off after canoeing above the Victoria Falls. Zanele Ndlovu and Jamie Fox, from southeast England, were out in an inflatable raft when the reptile attacked and punctured the vessel.

Ndlovu fell into the water and her right arm was bitten off above the elbow, just days before her wedding. She was taken to hospital where medics saved her life, and she was married in the hospital chapel the following month.

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