Davey du Plessis is a lucky guy.
Image by Gustavo Noriega courtesy Davey du Plessis, SOURCE
While Davey was still on the river: “This snake, Davey says is a baby anaconda, swam up to him when he was washing his blade and cooking pots in the Amazon jungle. He says it's a beautiful creature!”
Image by Davey du Plessis courtesy Davey du Plessis, SOURCE
Solo Davey du Plessis Amazon attack update: “horrendous to the worst degree”

Posted: Aug 27, 2012 08:52 am EDT
(Newsdesk) He has bullets in his spine, face, neck, skull, arms, was left for dead, got up, ran for about 5 km to get help, saw people, tried to call for help but no sound came out because he had been shot in the neck. The people wanted money to help him, he had none. He was left in a boat for 4 hours. Eventually after coughing up blood, Davey was helped.

His mother, Robyn Wolff, gave the following report on Facebook about the gunmen who had opened fire on Davey 21 hours ago on the Amazon River:

“He was shot at in his kayak. He fell out. Could not move his arm. They shot at him again, he swam to get away. He has bullets in his spine, face, neck skull arms. This boy then stayed in the water thinking it’s over, but an instinct made him run, he ran for about 5 km to get help; he had to drag his leg and his arms had lost all feeling.”

“He found people on the other side of the river, he tried to call for help, but no sound came out cos he had been shot in the neck. They eventually saw him and wanted money to help him, he got some help, but further along he was left in a boat for 4 hours cos he had no money, eventually after coughing up blood, which would not stop, they got scared and helped him, they wrapped him in plastic and blankets and not sure what happened from there, all I know Davey said to me.”

“Last night he thought it was all over. He said to me, he is amazed he survived and ran all that way and is safe in hospital. His face is numb, he can't hear properly, he has bullets all over his body.”

“I don’t know how anyone can survive that. It is so hard as his mother to hear what he went through, this is horrendous to the worst degree. Davey is very emotional and can't believe he is alive.”

“I have so many wonderful people helping me, and calling me from all over the world. Thank you.”

“This boy is a hero, and to endure this savage, horrific attack, I will never know. Saddens me to the core. I cannot sleep, I keep thinking what my son went through, and how he survived. There is no braver person that I know. He has courage that I don't even know where it comes from.”

“This story is so horrific; I am traumatized beyond redemption right now.”

To Lima

A South African brewery has stepped in to help get Davey on a plane and got him a private clinic in Lima, the capital of Peru. He was flown to Lima overnight. They also organized support people in Peru.

His mother gives details, “We have had someone at his side, even on the airplane. Gustavo Noriega is with him now. He said Davey has lots of doctors and nurses taking care of him, he is going into a specialized unit to be monitored all the time, and the surgeons a will take the next steps soon.”

West Hansen and crew on the Amazon

West Hansen’s team, who are currently also kayaking down the Amazon, reports that they have spoken to Davey and his mother after reading the news about the incident on ExplorersWeb and so getting their contact details.

Davey told the National Geographic Amazon Express team he was floating on his inner tube near the banks of the Ucayali River between Pucallpa and Bolognesi, Peru. “Davey reported that two guys, about 20 years of age, came out of the jungle and shot him with no verbal interaction or pretense. Apparently, one guy came out, then ran back to the jungle and came back with the other guy, who had a gun and shot Davey without provocation. Davey was near enough to the shore then he fled and they left him for dead.” Read more in their update.

Davey du Plessis lives in Cape Town, South Africa. He has previously travelled through the USA, Europe, the Caribbean and most recently has done a cycle adventure with Ricki Nethercote from Egypt to South Africa. The two cycled just over 9000km, averaging 100km per day on a 5 day week routine between February and July 2011.

Currently another team is also on the Amazon; West Hansen and his team are also attempting a source-to-sea in their kayaks. Their daily dispatches can be followed in the live Dispatch stream at the Pythom app and at ExplorersWeb.

Since 1970 the following expeditions have successfully navigated the Amazon River from source to sea using a combination of rafts, kayaks and boats (No. 1-6 courtesy of Ed Stafford):

1. The first was British explorer John Ridgway’s journey in 1970. This expedition used cargo boats and other vessels to complete the latter portion of the river.
2. The first expedition to run the Amazon in kayaks was completed by Piotr Chmielinski (Poland) and Joe Kane (USA) in 1985/6.
3. The first unsupported and solo attempt was successfully navigated on a hydro-speed by South African Mike Horn in 1997/8.
4. In 1999 Scott Angus (Canada), Ben Kozel (Australia) and Scott Borthwick (South Africa) became the first to raft the entire river.
5. In 2007 Slovenian marathon swimmer Martin Strel set a new record swim by being the first person to swim a large proportion of the Amazon.
6. In March 2008 Mark Kalch and Nath Welche trekked and paddled the entire route. They are the fourth team in history to complete the entire journey manpowered. (Martin Strel didn’t start at the source).
7. Ed Stafford walked the length of the Amazon River from the source to the sea in 860 days. He started April 2nd, 2008 and finished August 9th, 2010. A transient team of teammates and indigenous guides accompany him, with Cho (Gadiel Snachez Rivera) being the longest time with Ed.

Related: Swedish Christian Bodegren kicked off his Amazon jungle paddle from Orinoco in Venezuela. 280 days later, June 12th, 2012 he ended at the Atlantic Ocean at Tigre, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.

Previous articles:

South African’s Amazon source to sea expedition

Amazon source to sea: Lone wonderer, Davey du Plessis, on a truck tire tube

Solo Amazon adventurer shot – urgent help needed

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