Man swallowed by hippo lives to tell the tale

Last Updated: Sun, May 05, 2013 06:19 hrs

A man from Zambia has revealed that he was once swallowed by a hippo.

He was 27 and owned a business taking clients down the Zambezi river near Victoria Falls, the Guardian reported.

He'd been working this stretch of river for years, and the grouchy old two-ton bull had carried out the occasional half-hearted attack. He'd learned to avoid him.

That day he'd taken clients out with three apprentice guides - Mike, Ben and Evans - all in kayaks.

They were near the end of the tour, when he took him by surprise.

His boat, with his clients still in it, had been lifted half out of the water on the back of the huge bull hippo.

When he reached over to grab their outstretched hand, he was engulfed in darkness.

There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if he had suddenly gone blind and deaf.

He was aware that his legs were surrounded by water, but his top half was almost dry.

He seemed to be trapped in something slimy.

There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against his chest.

His arms were trapped but he managed to free one hand and felt around - his palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo's snout.

It was only then that he realized that he was underwater, trapped up to his waist in the hippo's mouth.

He wriggled as hard as he could, and in the few seconds for which he opened his jaws, he managed to escape.

The hippo struck again, dragging him back under the surface, but he survived.

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