Safari guide dragged into river by 12ft crocodile after it grabs his hand as horrified tourists watch on

16 May 2023, 02:46

Mark Montgomery was attacked by a 12ft crocodile
Mark Montgomery was attacked by a 12ft crocodile. Picture: Alamy/Mark Montgomery/YouTube WildSide Trails & Training

By Emma Soteriou

A safari guide who went to collect water for a group of tourists he was leading was dragged into a river by a 12ft crocodile after it grabbed his hand.

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Mark Montgomery, 52, was leading a tour group through the 400-mile Kruger Trail when the attack took place.

He said he had gone to collect water from the river when the crocodile leapt from the murky water.

After his lucky escape, he had to go through three surgeries, with his fractures being fixed with pins and plates and the teeth marks being stitched up.

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Mark Montgomery
Mark Montgomery. Picture: Mark Montgomery/YouTube WildSide Trails & Training

Retelling the story on the Wildside Trails & Training YouTube channel, the ranger said the attack was "so quick".

"I didn’t even see it come out the water," Mr Montgomery said.

"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."

He continued: "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 [death] 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."

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Kruger National Park is home to more than 4000 crocodiles
Kruger National Park is home to more than 4000 crocodiles. Picture: Alamy

Mr Montgomery then grabbed a tree branch and pulled himself to the bank's edge to escape.

He said first-aiders at the camp were able to wash his wounds and get him to a mediclinic at Nelspruit where they carried out the three surgeries.

The ranger was almost at the end of the trip when the horror moment unfolded, with the group of tourists witnessing it up close.

Wayne Stocks, one of the hikers who saw it happen, 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."

The Kruger National Park is the largest and oldest park in South Africa.

Kruger National Park spokesman Isaac Phaala said: "No matter how many times you have guided this route you respect your territory and remember this is the place wild animals call home.

"We are just glad he did not receive life threatening injuries and survived."

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