South African Woman Dies After Crocodile Attacked Her While She Was Crossing River

A South African woman has died after she was attacked by a crocodile while crossing a river.

Mavis Mohlala was on her way to attend a church service in the village of Kolokotela in Limpopo, a province in South Africa that borders Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, on October 5, News24 reported.

The 39-year-old, from the Mokwete village near Jane Furse, Limpopo, was traveling across the Lepelle river from the neighboring Tsimanyane village with Mpho Mohlala, 28, at around 7 p.m. that evening, according to the website.

Tumelo Makunyane told News24 that he was with the pair when Mavis Mohlala was attacked. She had been close to the end of the river crossing when she starting shouting for help after a crocodile dragged her back into the river, he said.

Makunyane said he and Mpho rushed back to the river to try and rescue her. Mpho poked the crocodile in the eyes in a bid to chase it away, Makunyane told News24.

Mavis sustained serious injuries to her legs. Makunyane called his cousin, who arrived in a car and took Mavis to the Matlala hospital in Tsimanyane. However, Mavis died four days later on October 9, according to News24.

Rakgoadi police confirmed they have opened an investigation into the death, Review Online reported.

Police spokesman Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said those with Mavis had fought off the crocodile, but she had already sustained serious injuries.

"Others in the group fought the crocodile until it let go but the victim had already sustained serious injuries. Emergency services were called and she was taken to Matlala Hospital but later passed on," he said in a statement.

Mavis Mohlala's family is not happy with the treatment she received at the Matlala hospital. A transfer to the Mankweng hospital in Polokwane, Limpopo, to receive better treatment was promised but never happened, according to News24.

Makunyane said he blames the Matlala hospital for Mavis' death, claiming they had delayed her transfer.

Mavis' mother, Anna Mohlala, told the website that she had visited her daughter at Matlala and wasn't happy with her medical treatment. Her daughter said she did not have any strength after losing so much blood.

And Mavis Mohlala wasn't the only person attacked by a crocodile while crossing the Lepelle river. Thabang Mogodi was taken to hospital and treated for his injuries after being attacked on the same night that Mavis Mohlala was, News24 reported.

Residents in the community have expressed the need for a bridge to be built between the villages of Tsimanyane and Kolokotela for many years, according to the website.

Newsweek has contacted Rakgoadi police and the Matlala hospital for comment.

The office of Dr. Phophi Ramathuba, the Limpopo provincial government's Member of the Executive Council for Health, said the case would be investigated, News24 reported.

Although it's not clear what kind of crocodile attacked Mavis Mohlala, the Nile crocodile is Africa's largest crocodilian. Nile crocodiles can be found all over sub-Saharan Africa in rivers, freshwater marshes and mangrove swamps, according to National Geographic.

Attacks on humans can be frequent as the Nile crocodile has a "virtually indiscriminate diet," according to the magazine. It estimates that Nile crocodiles kill up to 200 people every year.

According to CrocBITE, a global crocodilian attack database, Nile crocodiles have killed at least 48 people so far this year in Africa.

nile croc
Stock photo: Nile crocodile. A South African woman has died after being attacked by a crocodile in the province Limpopo on October 5, 2019. Getty