By Leonard Ncube
A Hwange man died while a 14-year-old survived by pulling a crocodile’s tail while his friends pelted it in the coal mining town on Friday in two separate incidents involving the reptiles.
The deceased has been identified as Mr Enock Mhlanga (24) of Ingagula while his colleague who escaped with injuries is Mr Delight Mathe (22) who resides at Number A40B in Hwange.
The deceased and his friend had been fishing at a weir popularly known as Carries Dam on Friday when the incident occurred.
Residents reportedly watched in horror as the crocodile attacked Mr Tshuma and Mr Mathe.
When the crocodile attacked Mr Mhlanga, he screamed while holding Mr Mathe on the waist and they both fell into the water.
Mr Mathe managed to escape with injuries on the left leg while Mr Mhlanga was dragged to the deeper end.
Police and rangers retrieved his body.
Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incidents. “We received a report about two crocodile incidents and it’s sad that a life has been lost. We encourage communities to stay away from water bodies,” he said.
The boy who survived the crocodile attack, Tawanda Tshuma, managed to escape with minor injuries.
He was attacked at a disused ash dam belonging to Hwange Colliery Company in Cinderella suburb.
The boy had gone swimming in the shallow water in the company of three unnamed friends who pelted the crocodile with stones as he held firmly to its tail while pulling it out of the water, The Chronicle was told.
The marauding one-metre long reptile reportedly grabbed Tawanda by the right leg and he screamed for help while his friends fled to safety.
Seeing that he was left alone in the water which was about 50cm deep, the brave boy reportedly grabbed the crocodile’s tail and started pulling it. “At that moment his friends pelted the crocodile with stones and it then let go,” said a source.
Concern has been raised about crocodiles that have found safe haven in water bodies most of them disused open cast mines around the coal mining town.
People have been attacked while swimming or fishing.
Zimparks recently identified crocodiles as the deadliest wild animals in Zimbabwe, killing 16 of the 20 people that died in human-wildlife conflicts in 2018. The Chronicle