Safari guide attacked by crocodile makes life-saving escape
An experienced trail guide who was leading tourists on a hike in Kruger National Park in South Africa suddenly found himself underwater and fighting for his life when attempting to scoop clean water from the Metsi Metsi River.
When Mark Montgomery went to scoop water a third time, he was dragged underwater by a crocodile, according to the South Coast Herald.
“I looked and the crocodile’s head was dead still under the surface,” Montgomery explained to the South Coast Herald. “There wasn’t even a ripple or anything. I think I pulled my hand back. If I hadn’t, it would have gotten my arm. The part from seeing the head to realizing I’m in the water myself, is not even in my brain. It was that fast. It is literally, he grabs my hand and you hear the water.”
One of the tourists in the group jumped in after him, but the crocodile quickly disappeared underwater with Montgomery in tow.
Montgomery, a trail guide since 1998 and trained in dealing with dangerous animals, put his free hand around the crocodile’s neck in an attempt to get to its eyes to deter it, or a hand to its mouth to try to pry it open. He constantly kicked to try to halt the attack.
When the crocodile began turning, Montgomery turned in the opposite direction, and suddenly he could feel the crocodile letting go of his hand.
Also on FTW Outdoors: Cigarette boat takes on huge surf and it doesn’t end well (video)
“At that moment I lurched to the surface,” he told the Herald. “The bank was about 1.6 meters away. I lunged and lunged and grabbed the roots of a stunted jackalberry on the other side. In the meantime, I’m picturing this crocodile grabbing me from the back into the water. I lurched so strongly I partially tore my right hamstring; the left one is bruised.”
Montgomery climbed out of the water to safety but was on the opposite side of the riverbank. So he walked to a shallow part and crossed over, reuniting with his guests, who helped render first aid.
The assistant guide radioed for help, and Montgomery was eventually transported to Mediclinic Nelspruit.
Three surgeries later, there is no infection so far. The wounds have been closed and pins and plates have been put in. The hand is basically saved, and he should get most of it back to full use again, Montgomery says.
He loves what he does too much to let an incident like this stop him from continuing his passion, but he did say he might scoop water with a bucket and rope next time.
Photos courtesy of Mark Montgomery and Wikimedia Commons.