A father in northeastern Zimbabwe saved his 11-year-old son from a crocodile this week with just his bare hands. The boy lost a leg and his father, who doesn’t have the heart to tell him the leg is permanently gone, has asked for donations to get the boy a prosthetic.
Tafadzwa Kachere of Mutuko encountered the crocodile while crossing the Nyaitengwa River on Tuesday.
The crocodile grabbed his son Tapiwa, and Tafadzwa jumped on the reptile’s monstrous back to save his son.
“When we were coming from the garden, I was walking in front and the boy was following me,” the father told Nehanda Radio. “After crossing the river, I heard the boy screaming for help and I rushed to rescue him. I could see him struggling to free himself as the crocodile kept on holding on to his leg.”
Tafadzwa tried to force the crocodile’s mouth open with his bare hands.
“I took the risk and dived into the water and joined the fight trying to force open the jaws with my hands,” he said. “I failed to open the crocodile’s mouth and resorted to poking its mouth with reeds while seated on its back. I instructed my son to hold on to the reeds as I continued poking into the crocodile’s mouth until it released the boy.”
When the animal finally released Tapiwa, it went after his father’s arm.
“I struggled with it until we both got out of the water and I was still on top of it. I poked its eyes several times until it released my injured hand,” he said.
Tapiwa lost a leg in the attack and Tafadzwa suffered injuries to his arm. They were taken to Chitungwiza Central Hospital.
“That is really a sad story and we are doing our best to help the two,” said the hospital’s chief executive Dr. Obadiah Moro. “We are monitoring the situation and we hope they will soon be okay.”
The father asks well-wishers to make a donation to help his son afford a prosthetic leg.
“I appeal to well-wishers for assistance in the purchase of an artificial leg for my son. He still wants to go to school and up to now he still thinks he will get his leg back,” Tafadzwa said. “We lied to him that the leg was temporarily being removed for treatment purposes and I do not know how to break the news to him.”