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A friend in need is a friend indeed – especially when it comes to fighting off a croc

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Gerard Daffue did not hesitate for a moment when he saw the huge jaws closing around his friend Bertie Fick’s leg. He fought the crocodile off with all his might, injuring himself.

Mercia du Plessis with Gerard Daffue.

Pretoria – What was supposed to be a relaxing outing turned a horror story for two friends after being caught in the jaws of a crocodile.

But Gerard Daffue did not hesitate for a moment when he saw the huge jaws closing around his friend Bertie Fick’s leg. He fought the crocodile off with all his might, injuring himself.

Both men are presently in hospital, being treated for their wounds.

It all started last Friday when the two friends decided on a quick getaway to go fishing at the Rust De Winter Dam, north of Pretoria.

Fick’s sister, Mercia du Plessis, told the Pretoria News that her brother had walked into the water to cast his line when the crocodile appeared out of the depths and attacked him.

“Gerard turned around just in time to see the croc’s mouth around my brother. He jumped into the water and, with all the strength he could find within himself, he tried pulling the crocodile’s mouth open,” she said.

Du Plessis said the croc managed to pull both of them down under the water.

“Gerard was hitting the crocodile all the time and he eventually managed to get it to loosen the grip on my brother. He pushed my brother away from the crocodile, not knowing whether the crocodile would attack him next.”

She said Daffue managed to get her brother back on land and then took his shirt and tied it tightly around his friend’s leg as all he saw was blood.

Then he saw the damage to Fick’s back and stomach.

“He covered my brother in a blanket and placed him in the bakkie. He kept calm and called the paramedics and everyone he needed to get hold of without even thinking of any injuries he may have had himself.”

Mercia du Plessis with Gerard Daffue who is still in hospital after being injured while fighting off the crocodile.

She said Daffue managed to get her brother to the closest clinic and he even told the nurses not to worry about him as they must first focus on Bertie.

They struggled to stabilise him because of the big, gaping wounds. The plan then was to fly him by helicopter to hospital in Pretoria but because of the heavy rain, they ended up driving instead.

“We would have never known what had happened to my brother if Gerard had not been there. Bertie told him afterwards that he had no chance alone against the crocodile as he simply did not have the strength.”

“He recalled that the crocodile shook him and twisted him. Even the doctors are surprised at how they both survived.”

Later Daffue saw the damage to his own hands and thought he may lose a finger, but is now optimistic it will be saved.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, the first time Du Plessis saw her brother was this week on Thursday, after he had surgery.

“There are many parts of his ordeal which he simply cannot remember. But he is doing okay,” she said.

Gerhard is also still recovering in hospital.

Pretoria News