Americans Kayakers Chris Korbulic, and Ben Stookesberry, along with South African author Hendrick Coetzee were kayaking down in 2010 when a tragedy struck. The South African author was ripped from his boat by a 15-foot crocodile, and the moment was caught on camera. His body was never recovered, and he was presumed dead. All three world-class kayakers had teamed up to be the first people to kayak the Lukuga River’s white water in the Congo.
The tragic story of Coetzee's death was featured in the Man-Eater of The Congo, a documentary by National Geographic. While brief footage of the attack was included, the exact moment was not shown.
According to Unilad, the two surviving Kayakers, visibly shaken, safely arrived at a village nearby. The residents of the village help pull out Coetzee’s kayak that floated nearby after some time. It was bizarre that there was not a single scratch on the boat.
Social media users mentioned that while they felt the pain of Coetzee’s family and friends. The Congo is known to have water bodies infested with crocodiles. An Instagram user wrote, “I hope his family found peace in the 12 years that passed. So sad. I hope we all learn to practice sports, and all other activities, more consciously and safely. Avoid being an easy target and practice safety first. Let’s do our best to not just enjoy today but tomorrow also,”
“I feel bad for his friends and family for their loss, but also, kayaking the Congo? There are zero crocodile attacks not doing that,” another comment read.
A third user commented, “Why are you kayaking in croc-infested water?”
Lukuga River is a tributary of the Lualaba River in eastern Congo. North of Kalemie and Moluba, the river has low-grade coal deposits along its tributaries. It is Lake Tanganyika’s only outlet. The river is unusual because not only does its flow vary seasonally but also due to longer-term climate fluctuations.
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