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British student, 18, savaged by 10ft crocodile in Zambia tells how her ‘mind went into overdrive’


A British student left with her ‘foot dangling loose’ after being savaged by a 10ft crocodile in Zambia has told of how her ‘mind went into overdrive’ as she battled the beast.

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 huge crocodile despite guides telling her the river was safe to swim in.

She has since suffered nightmares and flashbacks to the horrific incident in which she was 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.

Amelie, 18, has said she plans to return to Zambia once she has made a full recovery from her injuries

Victoria Falls, one of the world's largest waterfalls, is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, one of the world’s largest waterfalls, is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe

Amelie Osborn-Smith, from Andover in Hampshire, pictured in a hospital bed after suffering serious leg injuries and a dislocated hip when she was attacked by a crocodile

Amelie Osborn-Smith, from Andover in Hampshire, pictured in a hospital bed after suffering serious leg injuries and a dislocated hip when she was attacked by a crocodile

A map showing the location of the Victoria Falls on the Zambia and Zimbabwe border, where the shocking incident took place

A map showing the location of the Victoria Falls on the Zambia and Zimbabwe border, where the shocking incident took place

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.’

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.

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

Amelie said she will return to Zambia once she has made a full recovery and does not believe one incident should 'hold you back'

Amelie said she will return to Zambia once she has made a full recovery and does not believe one incident should ‘hold you back’

The teenager spoke from a hospital bed as she recovers from the gruesome crocodile attack

The teenager spoke from a hospital bed as she recovers from the gruesome crocodile attack

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 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 grandmother, who has been sleeping at her bedside on a fold-up chair, also spoke to Dr Mohamed El Sahili in a video interview at the hospital.

She said: ‘I was so grateful that I was allowed to stay with her because she has had continued flashbacks and terrible dreams at night. 

‘Now it is better, but the first two or three days were bad.’ 

Amelie’s father Brent, now an osteopath, said his daughter is suffering frequent flashbacks, but added she remained upbeat. 

She 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.’ 

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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