British student ‘on fringe of death’ after horrific crocodile attack while rafting

A British teenager attacked by a crocodile while white water rafting in Zambia has won a bravery award after returning just months later.

Amelie Osborn-Smith was left fighting for life after her foot was nearly severed by the croc in the Zambezi river.

A friend eventually helped pull the 18-year-old from the creature’s jaws, and she was then airlifted to hospital in Lusaka with serious leg injuries.

After being repatriated to the trauma unit of a London teaching hospital, Amelie had a total of seven operations.

The brave teenager, now 19, said she wanted to “give back” to those who helped her get medical treatment and began fundraising to build a village school near the site of the attack.

As a result, she won the Act Of Courage title in the Amplifon Awards For Brave Britons 2022.

Judges said: “Having been rescued from a fate on the fringe of death, she then took her survival as a calling to put back into the local African community where she saw the need for schooling and education to be so acute.”

Within months of suffering the horrific injuries in December last year, Amelie was back in Zambia overseeing the building of the school in Muke village.

The teen, of Andover, Hampshire, raised the funds for the £40,000 project through media interviews and a Justgiving page.

Judges said: “When Amelie first felt the crocodile grab hold of her, almost severing her foot, she feared she was going to die.

“And then for a young girl to be the victim of a sustained attack in water, miles away from emergency services, those thoughts of not making it must have been flowing ever more through her mind.

“Her later actions were as courageous as surviving the attack itself.

“After undergoing one operation after another and then, having the strength in her body and soul in such a short time, to raise the money by giving media interviews and opening a Justgiving page, demonstrated what a special and courageous person she is.”

Amelie, who is now studying psychology at Hatfield College, Durham University, said: “I really didn’t expect to win this award when you see all the other brave people who were in the running.”

She added: “Following the attack it’s not just been physically challenging but also mentally.

“Physically I have recovered as much as I can now, and mentally, the school is what got me to where I am.

Something like that has shown me that out of any situation, no matter how bad you think it might be, there is something positive you can take out of it.

“I owe my life to the people who saved me and the kids from the school that came forward.”