A brave bride who got married five days after her arm was bitten off in a horrific crocodile attack has revealed how her Brit husband fought off the monster eight-foot long reptile.
Former national tennis player Zanele Ndlovu, 25, lost most of her right arm in the savage attack as she paddled down the Zambezi river in Zimbabwe.
But it could have been much worse if her husband Jamie Fox had not rushed over to help her and ‘rained down blows’ on the crocodile – which has since been hunted down and shot dead.
Zanele has told told how the Nile crocodile – which can weigh half a ton and be over 12 feet long – shot out of the water and tried to drag her to the bottom of the river.
The couple had been paddling down the Upper Zambezi above the Victoria Falls with six other canoes including several tour guides.
The scaly predator struck from below launching itself out of the water beneath their inflatable raft and grabbing her right arm in its jaws.
She told The Chronicle newspaper in Zimbabwe: "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.
“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.
“It all happened so fast we have conflicting accounts of events. The guides saw us battling the crocodile and joined in and the crocodile finally let go.
“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."
One of the tour guides who was first aid trained applied a tourniquet from the first aid kit while the other called for a helicopter to whisk Zanele to the nearest hospital.
Doctors at the Victoria Falls initially treated her then she was airlifted to the Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo where doctors said they had to amputate what was left.
After the attack the crocodile was hunted down and 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.
“We were monitoring it and after positively identifying it through its bruises and being territorial and we shot it when it was sun bathing.
"Such crocodiles are a danger to humans and it was no longer safe at the site."
Zanele said: "I get depressed by people who come here to hospital and start crying. I know people feel pity for me but being sorrowful does not help the situation.
“I look forward to friends and family who are going to make me laugh and not remind me of what is going on – I actually spend more time comforting my relatives.”
The couple had their wedding planned for the Busters Sports Club in Bulawayo but were unable to attend due to her injuries so decided to book the hospital chapel.
A Methodist Minister took the service which was packed with 60 of her closest family and friends and guests at Busters were able to watch the service by video link.
After Zanele became Mrs Ndlovu-Fox they posed for happy wedding photo’s then shooed their family and friends off to their wedding reception but did not join them.
Doctors insisted she spent another 24 hours in hospital but discharged her yesterday and the couple plan to complete their visa paperwork for her to live in the UK.
Zanele said: "I spent a lot of time preparing for my wedding day. I didn’t know that fate would have me being wed in a hospital chapel with one limb missing.
“But in all this I am not complaining and my wedding was the best and I am so happy we proceeded despite all the drama and I have a wonderful husband."
Groom Jamie, 27, from Bromley, Kent, works for the National Citizen Service which is a government funded programme focusing on teaching skills to teenagers.
He said: "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.
“The tour guide had said before we left that it was “rare” to see a crocodile but it “can happen” and it certainly happened but I didn’t see it or hear it.
“It just jumped from the water and grabbed her arm and she was pulled one side out of the boat and I fell out on the other. The crocodile eventually let go.
“I could see her arm hanging off and I could see it was really serious. The guides were using towels to stem the blood. She was lying on the floor of the boat.
“The helicopter with doctors arrived within five minutes – they were really quick. They took her to a hospital in Victoria Falls and they sedated her to examine her arm.
“They decided they needed an expert and she was taken to Bulawayo and the doctors said it was best to amputate. There wasn’t any choice in it really.
“Her arm was hanging off."
Jamie added: "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.
“For better or worse, in sickness and in health, that’s just how it’s going to be."
The couple met 18 months ago when Jamie was on a work programme in Zimbabwe and he visited her a number of times and proposed on Valentine’s Day this year.
He said: "I was at my most nervous as I so wanted her to say yes and she agreed and I approached her family and paid the bride price and we began planning.
“She planned the wedding and I am sorting out the visa.”
Brave wife Zanele said: "There is always something good about life to celebrate. I just look out and see how beautiful the view is. Sunshine and green. I am happy."
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