A 52-year-old man has narrowly escaped death after a crocodile suddenly attacked him while he was working as a guide in South Africa. Mark Montgomery was leading a tour group through the 400 mile Kruger Trail when the reptile lunged out of the water and latched onto his hand, dragging him to the bottom of the river. The experienced adventurer “tried to poke its eyes” as the crocodile began rolling, the deadly move it uses to paralyse and kill its prey, before he managed to break free from the reptiles jaws and swim to safety.
The ranger told YouTube channel Wildside Trails & Training: “It was so quick, so quick. I didn’t even see it come out of the water.
“I only had time to say ‘Oh s***’ and I was in its jaws and underwater and being taken down.
“I had managed to pull my hand back as it struck, otherwise it would have had my whole arm in its mouth.”
Mr Montgomery then had to fight for his life from the bottom of the river as the reptile tried to rip him limb from limb.
He said: “I put my hand around its neck and tried to poke its eyes and deter him as I was kicking up off the bottom to get to the surface.
“The crocodile started the roll and I was using my right leg to turn with it and at that moment it just let go of my hand and I breached the surface five feet from the bank.”
The man then grabbed a tree branch and pulled himself to the bank’s edge and was able to escape safely.
He said: “There were first aiders in camp who washed the wounds and called a vehicle, which took me to the mediclinic at Nelspruit where they carried out three surgeries on it.
“They fixed the fractures with pins and plates and stitched up all the teeth marks. I am lucky there is no infection and I should get full use of it back in time.”
The safari guide was almost at the end of the trip, which takes three years to complete with two treks a year, when the horror attack took place on April 25.
It happened a mere 500m from where Harry Wolhuter was taken from his horse by two male lions. The story of his survival is probably Kruger Park’s most famous story.
Mr Montgomery added: “Being underwater with the crocodile seemed like an age but when I surfaced the time it took to swim to the bank seemed to be forever.
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“You are just waiting for that thing to get you again and time just stands still. But I had said to myself there is no way this crocodile is killing me today and I am getting out.”
Wayne Stocks, one of the hikers who witnessed the attack, said: “I just saw this massive head fly out the water very close to my head and it just smashed Mark and it took him.
“I could see his whole body being dragged with his head closer to the surface making a bow wave and it looked like he was holding onto the back of a boat and being towed.
“He disappeared and then popped up again on the other side of the river but although the crocodile was fierce, Mark was really fighting it – I am not sure I would have survived.”
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