UK teenager who was mauled by crocodile feared losing foot

A British teenager who was mauled by a crocodile in southern Africa feared she would need to have her foot amputated, and said she felt “very lucky” during an interview from her hospital bed.

Amelie Osborn-Smith, 18, was left with her right foot “hanging loose” and a dislocated hip after the attack in the Zambezi River in Zambia while she was taking a break during a white water rafting expedition.

In her first interview since waking up from surgery, Osborn-Smith urged people not to let what happened to her put them off being adventurous and taking risks. She said that when the attack happened her brain went into overdrive and she did not see her life flash before her eyes.

“You just think: how do I get out of this situation?” she said, after being told that her bravery had fans worldwide. “I was very, very lucky,” said Osborn-Smith, adding that people should not to be put off rafting as these incidents were rare.

“Your life can be over so quickly. It sounds [a] cliche but if you live thinking you’ll regret everything, you won’t have a fulfilled life.”

Her condition is stable and she is being transferred to a trauma unit at a London teaching hospital.

Osborn-Smith was attacked during a trip after passing her A-levels at school in Hampshire. She was taking part in a professionally organised rafting expedition when the group stopped for lunch and were reportedly encouraged by the guides to have “a quick dip” over the side of the raft to cool off as the area was deemed to be safe. When returning to the boat, the 18-year-old came under attack and a crocodile tried to drag her under the water.

She said she had expected to lose her foot after being taken to hospital and was “so relieved” when she woke up from surgery to find that medics had been able to save it.

“I told all my friends, it’s fine if I lost my foot but was still alive,” she added. Osborn-Smith was taken by helicopter to hospital in nearby Livingstone. Her family were informed of the incident and she said her grandmother slept on the hospital floor in a foldout chair.

During the interview, Osborn-Smith’s grandmother said she was grateful she could stay and that her granddaughter had flashbacks and terrible dreams during the first few nights after the attack but was much better now.

Osborn-Smith’s father, Brent, has previously spoken out about what happened to his daughter, saying she was grateful to be alive and hoped to return to the UK this weekend.

“Amelie is a fit, intelligent, brave and conscientious individual who is extremely grateful to be alive and to have been looked after so well by all those involved in her rescue,” he said.

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