Sunday 22 September 2019

Bride marries five days after crocodile tears off her arm

Zanele Ndlovu and Jamie Fox went ahead with their wedding five days after the incident. Photo: AP
Zanele Ndlovu and Jamie Fox went ahead with their wedding five days after the incident. Photo: AP

Victoria Ward

A bride who walked down the aisle five days after her arm was ripped off by a crocodile has spoken for the first time about the attack.

Zanele Ndlovu (25) and her husband said it was a "miracle" that she survived the mauling on April 30 near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, where the eight-foot reptile launched itself out of the Upper Zambezi River at a group of canoeists.

After days of hunting the crocodile, national park rangers found it sunbathing and shot it dead amid fears it would kill tourists having had a taste for human flesh.

In the meantime, Ms Ndlovu married British man Jamie Fox (27), from Kent, who saved his now-wife's life in the attack.

With the bride-to-be's arm in the crocodile's mouth, Mr Fox repeatedly punched the animal in an attempt to loosen its grip.

Ms Ndlovu was only freed when the predator - a Nile crocodile - performed a "death roll", tearing part of the former tennis star's arm from her body.

"Jamie swam over to where I was struggling with the crocodile that was trying to pull me to the bottom of the river and grabbed my waist and with the other hand he rained blows down on the crocodile," she said.

"The pain was excruciating but Jamie was by my side and I summoned the strength to fight through it and although he was in shock he calmed me down."

The couple were on the river with a group of canoeists and tour guides when the crocodile burst the inflatable vessels by biting them, sending them into the water.

While others were able to escape to the safety of the riverbank, Ms Ndlovu was caught by the crocodile - which has now been killed.

Tour guide Skinner Ndlovu said: "We started hunting for it on Wednesday and we managed to shoot it on Friday afternoon with the assistance from a Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) ranger."

In spite of her injuries, the Fox-Ndlovu wedding went ahead, albeit at a different venue with the bride still requiring medical treatment.

Speaking from her hospital bed in Zimbabwe, she told the country's 'Chronicle' newspaper: "The vows say it all - in sickness and in health.

"The waters were very calm and we had guides and there were about seven boats in the water when the crocodile just jumped out.

"It jumped out of the water and bit a chunk of my right arm together with the side of the canoe which started deflating and it all just happened so fast.

"The crocodile bit me again and pulled me into the water. My husband was thrown out the opposite side so the boat was between the two of us."

Doctors at the Victoria Falls initially treated Ms Ndlovu, then she was airlifted to the Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo where doctors had to amputate what was left of her arm.

Groom Jamie, who works for the National Citizen Service, told 'The Chronicle': "It is a miracle she is here, there is no other way to explain it. I thought at first it was a joke and it took about five seconds to see it was actually real.

"We are both outdoors people but I'm not sure if we will go canoeing again. I just want her to get better soon and then we can plan our lives together.

"I never even at one point thought of calling off the wedding. I love her even more and this incident made me feel even more the deep feeling behind our vows."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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