A Zimbabwean man was able to escape from a charging elephant by jumping into a river – only to lose an arm and a leg in a vicious crocodile attack.
Winders Sianene, 34, was travelling last week to a fishing spot near Mlibizi – a village in western Zimbabwe – when he encountered the first of the two beasts.
Local reports say the elephant charged at Sianene, who realised his only means of escape from being trampled to death was to leap into to the river.
Acting quickly, he jumped into the water and attempted to swim away from the huge animal. But it was then that he met another deadly foe.
As he was putting distance between him and the elephant, reports said he felt a sudden, sharp pain in his leg.
Recounting the tale, Sianene said he realised he was being attacked by a crocodile, and as he tried to escape the clutches of its jaws, it also bit at his hand and arm.
Despite his dire situation, the 34-year-old did not give up. He said that he shoved his hand down the crocodile’s mouth to its tongue, forcing it to gag.
He then began to shout for help, with locals hearing his cries. People were able to come to his rescue, prizing the crocodile’s mouth open causing it to swim away.
Sianene’s brother Fanikiso Mkombwe said his brother was taken to hospital after the ordeal, and while his life was saved, he had both his arm and leg amputated.
“Winders was on his way to Mlibizi River when he saw an elephant charging towards him,” Mkombwe told the Sunday News.
“It was then that he decided to run and jump into the river trying to evade the elephant. Unfortunately, he was attacked by a crocodile in the process.
“He was going to do fishing in Mlibizi River. He has since been admitted to Mpilo Hospital while his leg and arm have been amputed,” Mkombwe added.
Winders himself told local media in the wake of his ordeal that he had felt a sudden, sharp pain in his left leg after entering the water. He said he looked back and saw the crocodile, which then tried to rip off his left hand.
He told how he escaped from the large reptile, telling local media: ‘I climbed on the crocodile and tightly held its head as l shoved my right hand into its big mouth.
“I knew I had to live at any cost so I made sure to keep my hold intact. Crocodiles have a small tongue so they do not want anything touching it as it hurts them.
“The crocodile started calming down as I had shoved my hand into its mouth.”
Winders explained how people who had heard his cries entered the river and prized the reptile’s mouth open with a log. He told local media: “The pain I felt was very severe but I concentrated on being alive.
“I now believe God works in mysterious ways because people rarely survive when they come across these two animals.”
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo told local media: “It is an unfortunate incident that a Binga villager was left disabled after being attacked by a crocodile.
“We are encouraging people to stay away from water bodies and treat them with caution. People should desist from fishing in these water bodies as they might be infested with crocodiles.”
Zimbabwean praise poet Obert Dube, after learning of Winders’ ordeal, donated the newly-disabled man a wheelchair.