Details Emerge about Expedition Tragedy on the Congo

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Hendri Coetzee. Photo credit:

Details are starting to come out about the recent tragedy on a Congo River where expedition leader and guide, Hendri Coetzee was killed when a crocodile grabbed him out of his whitewater kayak.

If you haven’t heard about the story yet, Coetzee, Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic were on a 2-month expedition to paddle down a portion of a Congo river that had been deemed unnavigable. The trip was funded by Eddie Bauer.

Local newspaper, did a phone interview with Ben Stookesberry while he was on his way home for the holidays.
[blockquote]Stookesberry, Coetzee and Chris Korbulic of Rogue River, Ore. were “paddling full bore in a tight group in the middle of the river” when the tragedy struck, Stookesberry said during a telephone interview Tuesday morning.

“It happened so quickly, [the crocodile] had Hendri below the surface of the water before we could react. Our only option was to evacuate the river.”

The men contacted the International Rescue Committee, who were dispatched to evacuate them to safety.

Coetzee’s body hasn’t been recovered.

“There wasn’t anything we could have done, even if we’d had a shotgun.”[/blockquote]
You can read the full, sad article here.

Update: has a good summary on the latest information and is a good read. They feel the croc was at least 15 feet long and somewhere around 2 tons.

Photo credit:

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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