WATCH: ‘How I survived elephants and crocodile attacks’

Flora Fadzai Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
FOR Mr Winders Sianene (43), the only thing that mattered to him was coming out alive as he escaped five elephants that saw him as an obstacle to getting water only to fall right into the jaws of a hungry crocodile.

The father of three children was attacked by a crocodile last week at the Mbilizi River in Binga, which has led to his leg and hand being amputated. He is admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital.

Mr Sianene said he had to take the risk and shove his hand inside the crocodile’s mouth, a technique he grew up being told about.

The crocodile fighter said on the fateful day he was in the bush where they usually guard their cattle as they fear losing them to rustlers. He was in the company of a friend as working in pairs made it easy for them to go and look for fish that would serve as their lunch at Mlimbizi River.

Mr Sianene said he left his friend to look for fish as it was his turn to go and get fish when he came across five elephants at the river.

“I crossed to an island in the middle of the river so l could get more fish. Getting fish near the bank is now difficult since the water is now critically low,” he said.

“As I was still busy I saw five elephants approaching. They clearly wanted water and l was an obstacle. I tried scaring them away by splashing water but they didn’t back down. That is when I decided to get into the water to try to swim to the opposite river bank,” added Mr Sianene.

He said when he dived into the water, his focus was still on the elephants when he felt a sudden strong clamp on his left leg that quickly loosened.

Mr Sianene said he looked back and that is when he saw the crocodile that was now racing towards him, now aiming for his left hand. He said the giant reptile got hold of his hand and spun with him as it tried to rip it off.

“That’s when I saw a chance of fighting it. I climbed on the crocodile and tightly held its head as l shoved my right hand into its big mouth. 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,” said the brave man. Mr Sianene said he was taught this technique from a young age as the area is crocodile infested.


“The crocodile started calming down as I had shoved my hand into its mouth.

At that time there were a few people who had heard my cries and were swimming towards our direction carrying a big log that was meant to scare it away,” he added.

Mr Sianene said he only removed his hand when the men who had come to help him had shoved the log inside the reptile’s mouth right under his hand. He said the crocodile escaped when it saw it was now being overpowered.

“The pain I felt was very severe but I concentrated on being alive. I now believe God works in mysterious ways because people rarely survive when they come across these two animals,” said Mr Sianene.

He said he was grateful he survived and being in a wheelchair is therefore not a problem to him .–@flora Sibanda

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