Two fishermen narrowly escaped with their lives after their canoe was attacked and sank by a hippo forcing them to swim for it in crocodile-infested waters.
British tourists watched in horror as the two men were almost killed by the combination of animals at the world-famous Victoria Falls.
Dramatic images show the men frantically swimming across the Zambezi River after the raging animal sunk its jaws into their flimsy wooden canoe.
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Watching the drama unfold yesterday (August 15) was a group of six British holidaymakers who were on a sunset cruise of Victoria Falls.
Tourist Paul Beard, 60, grabbed his camera and took pictures of the fishermen moments after they were attacked.
He said: “We had drifted down-river towards Victoria Falls when the canoe passed from view into an inlet.
“There was then an almighty splash as a hippo rose from the water and lunged forwards.
“Its powerful jaws ripped the side out of their wooden canoe.
“As we returned up-river we could see the two fishermen sitting in their canoe and leaning to one side to try to keep the damaged side clear of the waterline.
“But their attempt to paddle back across the Zambezi, which is over a kilometre wide at that point, faltered as the canoe took on water.
“They were stranded in the middle of the hippo and crocodile-infested water and their only option was to clamber out and swim the boat to the opposite shore.”
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Realising the danger the fishermen were in, boatman Crispin Mutanuka raced to help.
Paul, who is on holiday to Zimbabwe and southern Africa, said: “Crispin managed to get
alongside the sinking canoe and the men clambered into the boat.
“You could see the fear on their faces. Their damaged canoe was towed into the shallows but it was very badly damaged.
“It certainly wasn’t what we were expecting to see on our sunset cruise but it’s a relief the men were unharmed.”
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