Large croc delays canoe trials start

2011-05-09 00:00

CANOEISTS taking part in the South African sprint trials held at Nagle Dam last week were startled when a crocodile was spotted at the start line, halting proceedings.

“We had the paddlers on the start line when one of them jumped the start, so we brought all of them back to re-start. One of the paddlers then shouted that he had seen a huge croc,” the vice chairman of The Unlimited Dusi, Rob Humphries, said in a press statement released at the weekend.

“We couldn’t believe our eyes when we went over in a rubber dinghy to investigate and found the three metre croc swimming across the start line.”

Humphries chased the croc and it swam to the side of the dam on to a sandbank.

He said it is the biggest croc he has seen in the Umngeni system.

There were fears during this years’ Unlimited Dusi that crocs in Blue Lagoon could harm paddlers.

“There are more and more sightings each year of crocs in both the Umgeni and Dusi rivers along the route of the annual canoe marathon,” said Ray de Vries, a spokesperson for the organisers of the Dusi.

“Just a few weeks ago there was a report of a sighting on a sandbank at Windsor golf course by a couple. This is just a few hundred metres from the finish line of the Dusi. No one saw a croc during the race as these reptiles are shy, especially when a couple of thousand paddlers come down the river.”

He said there are signs at Nagle Dam and at Blue Lagoon in Durban warning the public about the presence of crocodiles.

“We request the public not to approach the crocs, which are a protected species in South Africa” De Vries said. — Witness Reporter.

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