Boy tries to save mom from killer croc

2012-04-04 10:05

Durban - A terrified 12-year-old boy from Kwamsame tried desperately to save his mother from the jaws of a crocodile on Tuesday by repeatedly hitting it over the head with his fishing rod.

Nelisiwe Thandazile Madela, 48, a mother of five, went fishing with her son, Siphelele, and an 11-year-old grandchild, Ayanda, at the St Lucia Estuary mouth.

Her husband, Thembinkosi “Lucky” Madela, said he taught his wife to fish when they first married 20 years ago and she had developed a passion for angling.

"We enjoy eating fish and prefer fish to red meat at home. We did not sell it, but stacked it in the fridge. My wife goes fishing almost every week and spends at least two days at St Lucia.”

Boys treated for shock

Mtubatuba police said Nelisiwe Madela and the two boys had caught three fish through the night.

At about 06:30 on Tuesday she caught a fourth fish, but it became stuck in the reeds as she tried to reel it in. As she tried to free it, a crocodile rose up out of the water, grabbed her by her right hand and pulled her in.

"After my wife’s tragic death I don’t know whether I will do it any time soon. I was completely horrified when I heard what happened and a relative rushed me to the scene, ” Thembinkosi Madela said.

The two boys had been treated by a doctor for shock.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park CEO Andrew Zaloumis said the last crocodile attack at the park took place seven years ago. “An immediate search was instituted by foot and boat, involving about 20 staff, but the crocodile repeatedly disappeared from view as the boat approached, hiding itself in reed beds.

"The searchers continued to pursue the crocodile until, over an hour later it eventually released the body and disappeared.”

Large concentration of crocs

The marks in the sand were testimony to the battle before the crocodile eventually pulled Madela into the water. A boat launch assistant heard the cries for help, and called the Ezemvelo conservation authorities.

Zaloumis urged holiday-makers and locals to remember that the St Lucia Estuary formed part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and had one of the highest concentrations of hippos and crocodiles in southern Africa.

“Crocodiles are opportunistic predators that generally target fish, but will readily take animals or people near the water’s edge. They tend to be more active in summer,” the authority said.

  • Gigo - 2012-04-04 10:17

    This is sad may her soul rest in peace...

  • David - 2012-04-04 10:21

    Very sad.

      Jack - 2012-04-04 10:56

      That's nature for ya.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-04-04 10:28

    My condolences to the family.

  • jackal666.daniel - 2012-04-04 10:32

    Poor kid :(

  • Sizah - 2012-04-04 10:44

    what a shame, poor woman providing for her family sad case indeed R.I.P. my heartfelt condolences to your husband & young ones

      Du Mabaso - 2012-04-04 11:10

      The grizzly beast!!! Condolences to her family.May her soul RIP

  • Chuck - 2012-04-04 10:48

    SHame man. It's terrible that this brave young guy had to go through something like this. God bless to him and the family.

  • bluzulu - 2012-04-04 10:53


  • Mashudu - 2012-04-04 10:58

    Deepest Condolences to the family and friends.

  • Carla - 2012-04-04 11:01

    Absolutely tragic. Those poor boys. That little one is going to have nightmares for some time to come, I'm sure.

  • ntokozo.moyo1 - 2012-04-04 11:06

    its quite a hardest thng to c ur mum being tartered into pieces by a croc. GOD help e family throughout ths tragedy.

  • ntokozo.moyo1 - 2012-04-04 11:06

    its quite a hardest thng to c ur mum being tartered into pieces by a croc. GOD help e family throughout ths tragedy.

  • Rick - 2012-04-04 11:16

    So so sad. My heart goes out to the family and specially the children. I hope that the boy gets the best counceling possible.

  • Hazel - 2012-04-04 11:21

    feel like crying sad

  • Stephen - 2012-04-04 11:22

    Surely it's time for the park authorities to "thin" out the croc population here, on my last visit to St Lucia my wife and I were shocked by the huge increase in the numbers of these creatures. Unless something is done about population control of the crocs we will have more and more of this kind of incident

      Onke.Dali - 2012-04-04 11:58

      Granted this is very sad and I wouldn't wish it on anyone but to suggesting the killing of these majestic and beautiful animals is just typical of how humans have treated this earth. There are 7 billion humans encounting, how many crocodiles are there? Rhinos? What about blue fish tuna....millions of species are exctinct because of \population control\ and other stupid reasons humans give for murder. When will it stop?

      Amanda - 2012-04-04 16:13

      That is not an option. If people THINK then there are no problems. There are enough other places for holiday makers to swim and enjoy. The estuary is not one of them.

      Jayson - 2012-04-04 22:50

      @Stephen. I hear what you are saying. But these crocodiles have been around a lot longer than we have been. I don't think the solution is to \thin them out\. They are just being crocodiles. We need to teach the locals of the dangers of being close to the water. There are danger signs posted!! But we can't go around wiping out another species. Its about education.

      Jayson - 2012-04-04 23:02

      I forgot to say, so sorry to the family for there tragic loss. Especially to the poor boy that so bravely tried to save his mom.

      Barefoot - 2012-04-05 11:00

      It's not like the crocodiles go to the nearest town and snatch helpless victims they are in their habitat, sorry bout the loss but the crocodile was doing what crocodiles do- hunt

  • ditantane.kganakga - 2012-04-04 11:30

    brave boy, may God bless you

  • Amanda - 2012-04-04 16:11

    I live in St Lucia and all I can say is that everybody knows not to go near the edge of the estuary. This woman went right into the water. There are numerous warning signs and she knew the area. A crocodile is no ones playmate.

  • Gordon - 2012-04-04 23:13

    This is terrible for the family, but lets understand 1 thing. There are at least 250 large crocs between the bridge and the sea. They can be seen all the time and there are massive signs up warning people. Every day you can go down to that water and watch people, almost always white tourists with MP number plates fishing on the edge of the water and letting their kids play in the water inlets. Crocodiles over 7or 8ft will try eat people given the chance. They are as sneaky as hell. In half and hour you can watch them stalk people on the banks EVERY DAY. If you tell people to watch out, they laugh at you. "we can see the croc's over there" they say, pointing to the sandbank or one floating 150m away. Only when you point out the one 5m under their nose to they realise that they are not the ones doing the fishing. THE CROC IS!!

  • Barbara - 2012-04-10 07:16

    Very very tragic. And for Bonganis information the name of a person does not change the tragedy. What is even more tragic is that you are using this incident to try and make a racist comment. Shame on you. God bless the family

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