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May 19, 2019

Hippo attacks Florida woman during Zimbabwe canoe trip

December 5, 2018
(File Photo) A Florida couple’s Africa getaway turned into a nightmare when a protective hippopotamus mother attacked — leaving a 37-year-old woman in critical condition. (pjmalsbury / Getty Images)

A Florida couple’s dream African getaway turned into a nightmare when a protective hippopotamus mother attacked their canoe, leaving the 37-year-old woman in critical condition.

Kristen and Ryan Yaldor decided to celebrate Kristen’s birthday in South Africa and Zimbabwe when? and decided to take a canoe trip near Victoria Falls, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

As the couple paddled down the Zambezi River, their canoe unknowingly came close to a hippopotamus and her younger calf.

The mother hippo reacted by swimming under the canoe and flipping it — leaving Ryan and Kristen helpless in the water.

Ryan was able to safely swim to a nearby island, but Kristen was dragged underwater as the hippo chomped on her leg and broke her femur.

She was able to escape, but had to wait an hour for medical help. She was finally brought to a hospital in South Africa 13 hours later.

“If one of those (incisor) teeth hit her femoral artery, we would probably be planning a funeral today,” Martine Yaldor, Kristen’s mother-in-law, told the Tampa Bay Times. “By all accounts, she was incredibly lucky.”

The incident was confirmed by Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo.

“Our message remains the same, we urge tourists to be vigilant and extra careful,” Farawo told the Zimbabwe Sunday News. “Never underestimate these animals. Simply stay away from them. Let us be careful and avoid unnecessary deaths and injuries.”

However, Martine thinks the facts regarding the incident are “distorted and misstated” because the couple didn’t do anything foolish.

Ryan explained in an email Sunday, shared by Martine, that his wife was thrown into the water before the attack.

He said they were never notified of unsafe conditions. Ryan also said Kristen care was delayed due to the Wild Horizons’ tour guide’s non-working radio and cell phone.

“The people that provided this opportunity weren’t properly prepared …,” Martine said. “They need to have the courage of convictions to say, ‘Sorry, it’s not safe today.’ “

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