JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — A Zimbabwe man is in hospital after a crocodile bit off his testicles and part of his penis as he tried to cross a flooded river, pants-less and carrying box of tomatoes on his head.
Jonah Maturure, 70, from Marutaya village in Gutu, said he was crossing the Chivake River, swollen from recent heavy rains, with tomatoes for sale when the crocodile attacked him.
Maturure had taken off his pants so they wouldn't get wet, and was carrying them in the tomato box on his head, he told Zimbabwe's Sunday News.
He was wearing only a shirt and underwear, and at the midway point of the river crossing, in chest-high water, the crocodile tore into his midsection.
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Maturure described the dramatic attack in an interview with the Sunday News from his hospital bed in Bulawayo:
"It mauled a chunk of my buttocks before attacking my manhood, tearing my testicles into shreds," he said.
"The skin covering my manhood was partly torn but I quickly put my thumb in its mouth to try and choke it after realizing that I was going to lose my manhood. It then grabbed my hand and I could hear my bones cracking, making some cacophony noise at the slightest bite.
"Realizing that I was losing the battle, I let go of the box of tomatoes that I was carrying on my head and it fell into the river with a thud, making some kind of noise. At that instant the crocodile released its grip on my hand and ran towards the noise.
"It probably thought I had fallen into the river, and I escaped in pain, with blood flowing down my legs from the wounds where the chunks of flesh had been incised," Maturure explained.
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According to the Sunday News, when Maturure escaped from the water "he was in his birthday suit with blood oozing uncontrollably from the ferocious attack wounds."
Maturure, who is in stable condition, credited the box of tomatoes with saving his life, saying it had distracted the crocodile when he dropped it in the water.
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