A 70-YEAR-OLD man had his testicles and part of his penis ripped-off by a crocodile while crossing a flooded river.
Jonah Maturure, from Marutaya in Gutu, is just happy to be alive after his terrifying battle with the reptile.
Now recovering at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), Maturure claims he has a box of TOMATOES to thank for his escape after he dropped it into the water, briefly distracting the croc but long enough for him to swim to safety.
Vegetable farmer Maturure says he was taking a box of tomatoes to a nearby shopping centre when he came across the flooded Chivake River. The water levels were at chest level.
"I was not suspecting anything. I had earlier on crossed the river using the same crossing place,” he told the Bulawayo Sunday News.
The father-of-four had removed his shirt and trousers to remain only in his pants. He put the clothing – which he wanted to remain dry – on top of the box with the tomatoes which he carried on his head.
Midway across the river, Maturure’s worst nightmare was realised when the crocodile leapt at him.
He added: “It grabbed a chunk of my buttocks before attacking my manhood – tearing my testicles into shreds. The skin covering my penis was partly torn, but I quickly put my thumb in its mouth to try and choke it, but it grabbed my hand and I could hear my bones crushing with every squeeze.
"Realising that I was losing the battle, I let go of the box of tomatoes that I was carrying on my head and it fell into the river causing a splash. At that instant, the crocodile released its grip on my hand and ran towards the noise.
“I used the opportunity to walk to the other bank with blood flowing down my legs from the wounds.”
So serious were his injuries that he passed through two hospitals – the Chiguhune Clinic and then Gutu Mission Hospital – before finally being referred to Bulawayo for specialist care.
Maturure says the February 6 attack was not the first in the area, and claims crocodiles were released into Nyazvidzi Dam by white farmers who wanted to stop local communities from fishing.