Teen Recounts Horrifying Crocodile Attack

by Victoria Santiago

After being attacked by a crocodile, a British teen prepares to return home from holiday.

18-year-old Amelie Osborn-Smith traveled to Zambia during a gap year to visit her grandmother.

A day spent swimming with friends in the Zambezi river quickly turned gruesome when a 10-foot Nile crocodile bit down on Osborn-Smith’s leg, pulling her into the water. The crocodile began death rolling the teen, but was reportedly punched by her friends until it released her. She was then flown to the Zambia capital, Lusaka, to save her leg.

During the attack, her father Brent Osborn-Smith noted that she remained calm and “didn’t even shed a tear.”

In a video captured by Medland Hospital, Amelie mentions that she was resigned to losing her foot. “When the accident happened I fully accepted the fact I was going to lose my foot and I accepted that and I’d said to all my friends, ‘it’s fine, I’ve lost my foot, I’m still alive’ and then I was told my foot is fine and I’m going to be able to walk again and it’s such a relief.”

The teen discusses how her brain went into overdrive trying to find a way out of the situation rather than watching her last moments play out in her head.

In addition to healing from her injuries, Amelie has been suffering flashbacks and nightmares of the crocodile attack. Overall, she says she is just “very, very lucky” to be alive. The teen is preparing to return home to Hampshire this week, but likely will need additional treatment.

Crocodiles in Zambia

Swimming and rafting are popular on the Zambezi river. All bodies of water in Zambia have a large crocodile population. Biologists think the river limits reptile growth, but crocodiles found in the area range from small hatchlings to 18-foot goliaths.

Zambia Tourism states that crocodiles rarely reach maturity, with almost one percent of babies making it to adulthood. They feed on a variety of prey. This ranges from insects to water buffalo. Due to the high number of crocodiles, Zambian fishermen often fall victim to them.

Surprise Attacks

Often it seems that crocodile attacks happen in the blink of an eye. It’s important to stay aware of your surroundings.

Amelie Osborn-Smith was grabbed off of a boat in the Zambezi river, but this doesn’t only happen in Zambia. Earlier this year, 12-year-old Charlie Buhl was attacked by a crocodile during his family vacation to Mexico. During a game of hide-and-seek, a 13-foot crocodile pulled Charlie into the water near his hiding spot. It took a group of hotel guests and employees to help free Charlie from the crocodile.

Charlie underwent eight surgeries to save his leg and spent a month in the hospital. His medical bills were paid for by the resort.