Amelie Osborn-Smith British teenager survives Zambia crocodile attack after her foot was left dangling loose after going on white water rafting trip.
A British student left with her ‘foot dangling loose’ after being attacked by a 10ft crocodile in Zambia has told of how her ‘mind went into overdrive’ as she battled the predator.
Amelie Osborn-Smith, 18, was enjoying a day of white water rafting on the Zambezi Rover, close to Victoria Falls, when she was attacked by the reptile despite guides telling her the river was safe to swim in.
She has since suffered nightmares and flashbacks, which involved her being dragged into a death roll.
The teen’s father, former Army Major Brent Osborn-Smith, previously said she 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.
Speaking from her bed at the Medland Hospital in Zambia, Amelie revealed instinct took over and her mind went into ‘overdrive’ as she fought for her life.
‘You just think, how do I get out of this situation’
She said: ‘You don’t really think in that situation. People say you see your life flash before your eyes, but you don’t.
‘You just think, “How did I get out of this situation”.
‘Your mind just goes into overdrive and you just think about how to get out. I was just very, very lucky.’
Despite suffering gruesome injuries, the teenager from Andover in Hampshire said she will return to Zambia once she has made a full recovery and does not believe one incident should ‘hold you back’.
She continued: ‘I have seen that your life can be over so quickly.
‘If you live thinking you’re going to regret everything you’re never going to have a fulfilled life.
‘I always think don’t let one incident hold you back.’
‘I had fully accepted I was going to lose my foot’
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.
She was airlifted to hospital in the capital Lusaka for life-saving surgery – and to try to save her shredded leg.
She continued: ‘When the accident happened I fully accepted the fact I was going to lose my foot.
‘I said to all my friends, ‘It’s fine, I have lost my foot, I am still alive.’
‘Then I was told that my foot’s gonna be fine, that I will be able to walk and it’s just such a relief.’
Amelie’s father Brent, now an osteopath, said his daughter is suffering frequent flashbacks, but added she remained upbeat.
‘She is lucky to be alive.’
The teen was expected to fly back to the UK on Saturday night following the ‘chaos’ of the attack that left ‘blood and people thrashing everywhere’ in the river.
Amelie’s father added that she ‘fought back with great courage and refused to be subdued or taken under’ and resisted the crocodile before the group managed to free her.
He said 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.
‘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.’
White water rafting company declines media overtures for comment
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.