South African kayaker presumed dead after crocodile attack on Congo river
JOHANNESBURG (AP) – An acclaimed outdoorsman who wrote movingly about testing himself against nature is presumed dead after a crocodile snatched him from his kayak while he led an American expedition from the source of the White Nile into the heart of Congo.
Two Americans being guided by 35-year-old South African Hendrik Coetzee on the grueling trip could only watch in horror. They paddled unharmed to safety after the Tuesday morning attack on the Lukuga River in Congo.
The International Rescue Committee, which runs development projects in the Central African nation, helped evacuate the Americans to a nearby town, Ciaran Donnelly, the organization’s regional director in Congo, said Thursday.
Coetzee’s body has not been recovered. The stretch of river where the trio was traveling is notoriously dangerous because of its whitewater, and the high density of crocodiles and hippos.
In a blog called The Great White Explorer that chronicled the trip sponsored by the Eddie Bauer clothing and outdoor equipment company, Coetzee wrote about the thrill of taking to uncharted waters, including stretches that might soon disappear due to planned dams.