Man Flees Charging Elephant by Jumping Into River, Is Quickly Attacked by Crocodile

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo credit should read DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP via Getty Images)

Quick thinking led a Zimbabwean fisherman to escape a charging elephant by jumping into a river. But as soon as he hit the water, he was attacked by a crocodile. And he miraculously survived to share his story.

The encounter took place while Winders Sianene, 34, was heading to a fishing spot just outside of the western Zimbabwe village of Mlibiz. Traveling along a river by foot, an aggressive elephant spotted him and charged.

Sianene knew his only way of escaping was to jump into the water. So he immediately lept and attempted to swim away from the enormous animal. But as he did, he swam into the path of a crocodile.

The fisherman told a local news outlet that he felt a sudden pain in his left leg. And when he looked back, he saw his attacker. The crocodile then began to tear at the stunned man’s left hand. But somehow, Sianene managed to keep his wits about him and he began to fight for this life.

“I climbed on the crocodile and tightly held its head as l shoved my right hand into its big mouth,” he recounted. “I knew I had to live at any cost. So I made sure to keep my hold intact. Crocodiles have a small tongue so they do not want anything touching it as it hurts them.”

The Victim Lost His Left Leg and Arm in the Crocodile Attack

Despite the agonizing pain, Winders Sianene remained focused.

‘The crocodile started calming down as I had shoved my hand into its mouth,” he continued.

Sianene began screaming for help. And luckily, some locals heard his cries. When they realized what was happening, they jumped into the water and pried the crocodile’s mouth open with a log, which allowed the man to escape.

“The pain I felt was very severe but I concentrated on being alive,” he continued.

The victim’s brother, Fanikiso Mkombwe, spoke with the media and shared that Sianene is now at a hospital, and he will survive. However, doctors were forced to amputate his left arm and leg.

In the wake of the attack, officials are asking people to stay clear of rivers.

“It is an unfortunate incident that a Binga villager was left disabled after being attacked by a crocodile,” said Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo. “We are encouraging people to stay away from water bodies and treat them with caution. People should desist from fishing in these water bodies as they might be infested with crocodiles.”

Despite his life-altering injuries, Winders Sianene, who was gifted a wheelchair by Zimbabwean poet Obert Dube, is feeling grateful to be alive. And he knows that most people would never have escaped the horrific events.

“I now believe God works in mysterious ways,” he added, “because people rarely survive when they come across these two animals.”