Surviving a Shooting in the Amazon

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Below is an excellent story of how a man survived two people that tried to kill him and leave him for dead.  It touches upon community, fear, will to live and love of family.  I will only post the first page of the story.

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VIA  Outside Online 

Surviving a Shooting in the Amazon

By:   Joe Spring 

On July 1, 2012, Davey du Plessis set off on a roughly 4,000-mile source-to-sea expedition down the Amazon. Two months and a third of the way in, he was attacked and left in the jungle to die. This is his story, as told to Joe Spring.

“As each situation in life represents a challenge to man and presents a problem for him to solve, the question of the meaning of life may actually be reversed.”
― Viktor E. Frankl
, Man’s Search for Meaning

It was Saturday the 25 of August, and up until mid-afternoon, I was having my best day on the river. I was almost two months into the expedition. I had already hiked from the town of Tuti to Mount Mismi—the listed source of the Amazon at that time—and back. I had biked roughly 500 miles through the Andes. Then I put a kayak into a tributary of the Amazon called the Urubamba River and had paddled roughly 700 miles. That Saturday morning, I saw my first manatee. A river dolphin swam next to boat. I saw two new species of birds. I was collecting data for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, so every time I saw animals I got a huge boost, but around midafternoon I started to have a really sick feeling.

I was distracted from that feeling by a brown raptor that seemed to be following me. It would fly along the riverbank and then sit on the ground, which seemed unusual for a bird of prey. It would take off, fly ahead of me, and land. It did this for almost half a mile, so I just kept taking photos of the bird.

I didn’t see much human activity until two guys, maybe in their twenties, motored past in a pirogue. I didn’t pay much notice to them because I was focused on the bird. Then the bird disappeared. About ten minutes later, I felt something slam into my back.

My arms shot up and the paddle flew into the air as I rolled with the kayak, into the water. I was underwater and my eyes were open. I sank deeper and thought, “If I don’t do something now, I’m going to drown.” I tried to use my arms to paddle up to the surface, but they were frozen stiff. They felt separate from my body. I thought, “OK, maybe someone had come behind me and hacked my arms off.”

I used my legs to kick to the surface. When I breached, I looked around What happened? Who did this? Had someone tried to cut my arms off using a machete? There was no one there. Then I thought, “Maybe that bird of prey flew into my back.”

A few seconds after breaching, something hit my face. I looked around, but saw nothing. I didn’t hear anything besides a ringing in my ears. I kicked to the kayak. Because my arms weren’t working, I used my head and torso to push my boat toward the riverbank. I was maybe fifteen feet away from shore. My feet hit mud. I walked to knee-deep water and sat down. I was facing the opposite riverbank. I still had absolutely no idea what happened. It was kind of like being in that rare, confused moment right after you wake up from a dream.

Then something hit the right side of my face.

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