Skin of the teeth: Man saved from the jaws of a crocodile in Limpopo

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Gerhard Daffue and Bertie Fick who were attacked by a crocodile in a dam in Limpopo.
Gerhard Daffue and Bertie Fick who were attacked by a crocodile in a dam in Limpopo.
  • A Pretoria man was attacked by a crocodile while fishing in a dam in Limpopo last weekend.
  • The man believes he would have died if not for his boyfriend, who jumped into the dam to free him from the clutches of the crocodile.
  • The man sustained serious injuries to his torso and leg, while the partner suffered injuries to his hand.

A Pretoria man narrowly escaped a crocodile attack when the large, ferocious reptile locked its jaws into him, but he was saved by his boyfriend at a dam in Limpopo where they had been fishing.

Bertie Fick, 40, and his partner, Gerhard Daffue, 34, had intended a short getaway at the Rust de Winter reserve last weekend - a trip that proved almost fatal.

After arriving at the reserve, the couple decided to go fishing at the dam.

Fick walked into the dam to cast his fishing line when he was unexpectedly attacked by the crocodile, his sister, Mercia du Plessis, told News24.

Without hesitation or concern for his own life, Daffue immediately sprang into action when he noticed the crocodile's mouth was gripped around Fick's torso.

"He jumped in [the dam] and, with all the strength he could find within himself, tried pulling the crocodile's mouth open," Du Plessis said.

Daffue kept fighting the crocodile and, at one point, both men were pulled under the water.


Through hitting, pulling and pushing, a persistent Daffue eventually emerged victorious as the crocodile loosened its grip on Fick.

Without knowing whether the crocodile would then attack him, Daffue moved his boyfriend away from the crocodile and put himself in the firing line.

The crocodile, however, swam away.

Daffue took Fick back to dry land, where he used his shirt as a makeshift tourniquet, tying it around Fick's leg to stop the bleeding.

It was only then that Daffue noticed the extensive wounds to Fick's back and stomach, Du Plessis said.

Daffue got Fick into their bakkie and rushed him to the nearest clinic.

Daffue's hands were badly injured during the attack, but he still insisted that nurses help his boyfriend first.

"He got my brother to the closest clinic and even told the nurses not to worry about him - they must just get Bertie stable," Du Plessis said.

Gerhard Daffue, Bertie Fick
Mercia du Plessis with her brother's boyfriend Gerhard Daffue after the crocodile attack.

Fick had a large chunk of his left quad ripped out and sustained serious bite injuries on his stomach and back, where the crocodile had clamped down.

Du Plessis said Fick's lungs and kidneys were punctured, but there was no damage to the rest of his organs.

Daffue's hands and fingers took a beating during the attack and he has undergone reconstructive surgery in order to save the middle finger on his left hand.

The men were transferred to a hospital in Pretoria, where both have had two surgeries so far.

Fick is still in an intensive care unit, while Daffue is in a general ward.

Bertie Fick
Bertie Fick, after being attack by a crocodile in a dam in Limpopo.

Du Plessis said her brother is certain that he would not be alive today if it was not for his boyfriend intervening to save his life.

"He [Fick] said he had no power against the crocodile, he was like a puppet [in its mouth]. If Gerhard was not there, the crocodile would have easily killed him."

Du Plessis said Daffue is their hero, and even the doctors who tended to Fick are shocked that he survived the attack.

Du Plessis said her brother and his boyfriend had no idea there were crocodiles in the dam - and that, apart from a single small board against a tree, there were no other warning signs.

Beware crocodile sign
The beware crocodile sign at the dam that Bertie Fick was at when he was attacked.

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