SA kayak adventurer shot in Peru

2012-08-28 20:55
 Lima, Peru -  A young South African adventurer seeking to follow the Amazon River from its origin to its mouth was in stable condition in a Lima hospital Monday after being shot and robbed by a pair of youths while on a Peruvian tributary, authorities said.

David du Plessis, 24, was shot three times by two young men Saturday while kayaking down the Ucayali River near the provincial capital of Pucallpa, said his father, Louis du Plessis.

"They set up an ambush and they shot him from the woods," he said. The first shot knocked the young man from the kayak, the second hit him as he headed for shore and the third when he reached shore, his father said.

"He realized the only way he could get away was to run" so he ran about three miles (5 kilometers) despite internal bleeding and a neck wound that would interfere with his speech when he arrived in a village wearing only swimming shorts and a T-shirt, said his father, who flew from the United States to be with him.

The young adventurer, who began his journey in late June, was taken downriver in a motorized canoe and arrived in Pucallpa after dusk, said Margot Sanchez, whose brother speaks some English and alerted du Plessis' mother by phone.

"He was losing a lot of blood," said Sanchez.

"Our son is lucky to survive. It was 10 hours before he got to hospital," said the young man's mother, Robyn Wolff, from Durban, South Africa.

David du Plessis was flown to Lima on Sunday, thanks in part to employees of the local subsidiary of the beverage company SABMiller, his parents said.

He was in intensive care at the Anglo-American Hospital. The hospital's medical director, Dr. Edgar Tejada, said he was in stable condition.

David du Plessis has temporarily lost some hearing, had to have fluid drained from one lung and apparently has a pellet lodged in or near his heart, said his father, a U.S.-based yacht captain retired from the South African navy.

"If he had gotten shot with anything other than a shotgun he would not be here with us. He is very, very lucky," said Louis du Plessis.

The regional police commander in Pucallpa, Col. Cesar Augusto Larrea, told The Associated Press that investigators had gone upriver to try to locate the assailants but had so far made no arrests.

He said he did not know exactly where it happened: "There are a lot of small villages up there."

Larrea said it was not the first such attack on a foreigner in the area.

In May 2011, a Polish couple was slain while kayaking in the same reg
Read more on:    travel international

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