British student attacked by crocodile in Zambia was left with ‘foot hanging loose’ during ordeal


A British student who survived an attack by a 10ft crocodile bravely fought the beast as it mauled her leg and left her ‘foot dangling loose’.

Amelie Osborn-Smith, 18, from Andover, Hampshire, had been enjoying a day of white water rafting in the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls in Zambia when she was attacked by the crocodile despite guides with the group saying the river was safe to swim in.   

Her father Brent Osborn-Smith, 60, an Army Major-turned-osteopath, told The Sun: ‘Her lower leg had been badly mauled, her hip dislocated and her right foot was left hanging loose.

‘The group stopped for lunch in a quiet stretch, between rapids.  

‘They were encouraged by the guides to have a quick dip over the side, to cool off. This area was deemed to be safe.’

Amelie (pictured) is in hospital in Zambia where she had life-saving surgery and is awaiting to fly back to the UK for further treatment. She has a badly injured leg, according to her father

He added that Amelie ‘fought back with great courage and refused to be subdued or taken under’ and resisted the crocodile before the group managed to free her.

Brent said that Amelie did not cry or lose consciousness during the attack despite serious injuries to her legs and a dislocated hip.

A friend of Amelie’s said: ‘As soon as it happened the male friend dived under the water and started punching the crocodile furiously.

‘Then others jumped in to help. It was chaos. There was blood and people thrashing everywhere.

‘She is lucky to be alive.’

Guides and fellow rafters also leapt into the river in a bid to save her.

Osborn-Smith was airlifted 240 miles from Victoria Falls to the capital Lusaka where surgeons performed a life-saving operation and battled to save her leg

Osborn-Smith was airlifted 240 miles from Victoria Falls to the capital Lusaka where surgeons performed a life-saving operation and battled to save her leg

‘Eventually the croc gave up and they pulled her back into the boat,’ said the friend.

‘She was in quite a bad way. They patched her up as best they could and arranged an emergency med-evac.’ 

The 18-year-old’s father previously said that his daughter had been resting her leg over the side of the boat when the crocodile clamped its jaws around her calf and dragged her under the water.  

‘She’s in a pretty bad state at the moment in Zambia and we’re doing our best to try and get her back to have some proper definitive care here.’ 

Amelie was backpacking after finishing her A-levels at the £22,000-a-year St Swithun’s School, an all-girls boarding school in Winchester, and was only saved by a quick-thinking male friend who punched the animal on the nose until it let go.

Amelie, who attended the £22,000-a-year St Swithun's School, was rafting near Victoria Falls (pictured) in waters that guides had told her were safe when the crocodile attacked her

Amelie, who attended the £22,000-a-year St Swithun’s School, was rafting near Victoria Falls (pictured) in waters that guides had told her were safe when the crocodile attacked her

Amelie's father Brent Osborn-Smith (above) told MailOnline of the horrific croc attack

Amelie’s father Brent Osborn-Smith (above) told MailOnline of the horrific croc attack

She was airlifted to hospital in the capital Lusaka for life-saving surgery – and to try to save her shredded leg.  

Mr Osborn-Smith said: ‘She’s a very sensible girl, but on this occasion she was being guided by the rafting company and it was on their advice.

‘She wasn’t actually swimming but just sitting on the boat and the crocodile saw her leg dangling in the water and the crocodile clamped its jaws onto her leg and dragged her under the water.

She is expected to fly home tonight from the southern African nation. 

Brent has detailed the difficulties he now faces to get his daughter home from Zambia.

He told MailOnline: ‘Obviously with a crocodile bite there’s a huge risk of infection and she’s got a very severely damaged leg. It’s quite a distressing situation.

‘She’s been stabilised as best they can but it’s still pretty touch and go and we’re trying to arrange appropriate consultants here lined up.

‘The other issue is that Zambia is now on the Covid red list, so there are various hoops which need to stepped through quite carefully. ‘  

Amelie (pictured right), whose mother Veronika Osborn-Smith is a German Baroness, 52, was white water rafting with Bundu Rafting based in Livingstone, Zambia

Amelie (pictured right), whose mother Veronika Osborn-Smith is a German Baroness, 52, was white water rafting with Bundu Rafting based in Livingstone, Zambia

The crocodile (file image) snapped its jaws around Amelie's leg as it dangled over the boat and dragged her into the water and put her in a 'death roll' before a male friend punched the reptile

The crocodile (file image) snapped its jaws around Amelie’s leg as it dangled over the boat and dragged her into the water and put her in a ‘death roll’ before a male friend punched the reptile

Amelie, whose mother Veronika Osborn-Smith is a German Baroness, 52, was white water rafting with Bundu Rafting based in Livingstone, Zambia. 

A spokesman for the firm confirmed that Amelie was on a trip with them, but declined to give further details. 

On its website the company, based in Livingstone, said ‘safety always comes first’ on the ‘adrenaline-filled and safe adventure activities’. The company has been operating in the Victoria Falls region since 1996. 

The rapids below Victoria Falls are considered to be the best white water rafting experience in the world with turbulent challenges interspersed with tranquil pools. 

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