A British teenage backpacker was attacked by a crocodile while traveling with friends on a gap year in southern Africa.
Amelie Osborn-Smith of Andover, Hampshire, was enjoying a day whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls in Zambia when she was attacked by the 10-foot beast that put her in a “death roll”.
In an exclusive conversation with MailOnline, the 18-year-old’s father said his daughter had put her leg over the side of the boat when the crocodile clamped its jaw on her calf and dragged her underwater.
Brent Osborn-Smith, 60, an Army major turned osteopath, said:“She is in pretty bad shape in Zambia at the moment and we are doing our best to get her back so that she can get adequate and permanent care here.”
Amelie Osborn-Smith, 18, who is the daughter of a German baroness, was rafting in the Zambezi below Victoria Falls, Zambia, when she was attacked by a 3 meter high crocodile
Amelie (pictured) is hospitalized in Zambia, where she received life-saving surgery, and is waiting to return to the UK for further treatment. According to her father, she has a badly injured leg
Amelie, who attended £ 22,000 St. Swithun’s School, was rafting near Victoria Falls (pictured) in waters guides told her were safe when the crocodile attacked her
Osborn-Smith was flown 240 miles from Victoria Falls to the capital, Lusaka, where surgeons performed life-saving surgery and battled to save her leg
Backpacking Amelie after graduating from St. Swithun’s School, a girls’ boarding school in Winchester that graduated £ 22,000 a year, was only rescued by a quick-thinking male friend who hit the animal up to the nose has let it go.
She was flown to a hospital in the capital Lusaka for a life-saving operation – and to try to save her tattered leg.
Mr. Osborn-Smith said, “She is a very sensible girl, but on that occasion she was run by the rafting company and it was on their advice.
“She didn’t actually swim, just sat on the boat and the crocodile saw her leg dangling in the water and the crocodile clamped its jaw on her leg and dragged her under the water.
Amelie’s father Brent Osborn-Smith (above) told MailOnline about the terrible crocodile attack
“Of course, if you bite a crocodile, there is a high risk of infection and she has a very badly damaged leg. It’s a pretty worrying situation.
“It’s been stabilized as much as possible, but it’s still an eye-catcher and we’re trying to find suitable advisors here.
“The other problem is that Zambia is now on the Covid red list, so there are different tires that need to be run through very carefully. ‘
A friend of Amelie’s said: “As soon as it happened, the male friend dived under the water and started beating the crocodile angrily.
“Then others jumped in to help. It was chaos. There was blood everywhere and people were lashing out. She is lucky to be still alive. ‘
The guides and the other raftsmen also jumped into the river to rescue them.
“At some point the crocodile gave up and they pulled it back into the boat,” said the friend.
“She was doing pretty badly. They mended them as best they could and arranged for an ambulance evacuation. ‘
Amelie, whose mother Veronika Osborn-Smith is a German baroness, 52, was white water rafting at Bundu Rafting, based in Livingstone, Zambia.
A company spokesman confirmed Amelie was traveling with them but declined to provide further details.
On its website, the Livingstone-based company said “Safety Is Always First” in “Adrenaline-filled, Safe Adventure Activities.” The company has been operating in the Victoria Falls area since 1996.
The rapids below Victoria Falls are widely considered to be the best white water rafting experience in the world, with turbulent challenges punctuated by calm pools.
Amelie (picture right), whose mother Veronika Osborn-Smith is a German baroness, 52, went white water rafting with Bundu Rafting, based in Livingstone, Zambia
This section of the Zambezi, just below the falls, is also considered to be the safest, as crocodiles prefer the calmer, shallower sections downstream.
Amelie is recovering in the hospital in the Zambian capital, 240 miles from the site of the attack. It is not known exactly when she was attacked.
Mr Osborn-Smith said she did a year abroad after completing her studies and explained the family’s close ties to Africa: “My daughter was on a year abroad in Zambia and we are pretty familiar with this country – her grandmother has a farm on the Zambezi -River, so we spent some time there. ‘
While attacks on the cases are rare, they are not unprecedented.
In 2018, a Zimbabwean woman who was canoeing over the falls with her British fiancé was bitten off by a 5-meter crocodile that attacked her boat.
Zanele Ndlovu, a former national tennis player, was enjoying a day with Brit Jamie Fox when the reptile attacked and pierced her raft in April.
Forced into the water, just days before her wedding, Ms. Ndlovu’s left hand was bitten in a terrible attack and her right arm was torn off above the elbow.
She was taken to the hospital, where medics succeeded in stitching the wound and saved her life, before marrying in the hospital chapel the following month.
The crocodile (file image) snapped its jaws around Amelie’s leg as it dangled over the boat, dragging her into the water, putting her in a “death roll” before a male friend hit the reptile
Zanele told The Chronicle newspaper in Zimbabwe, “The water was very calm and we had guides and there were about seven boats in the water when the crocodile just popped out.
“It jumped out of the water and bit a piece of my right arm with the side of the canoe, deflating it, and everything went so quickly.
“The crocodile bit me again and pulled me into the water. My husband was thrown out on the opposite side, leaving the boat between the two of us.
“Jamie swam to where I was struggling with the crocodile that was trying to pull me to the bottom of the river and grabbed my hip and with the other hand he rained slaps on the crocodile.
“It all happened so quickly that we have conflicting reports of events. The guides saw us fighting the crocodile and joined in and the crocodile finally let go.
“The pain was excruciating, but Jamie was by my side and I gathered the strength to fight my way through and although he was in shock, he calmed me down.”