Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Péru: South African Kayaker, 24, Shot Several Times on Ucayali River

According to The Associated Press, David du Plessis, a young South African kayaker, 24,  seeking to follow the Amazon River from its origin to its mouth is in a stable condition in hospital after sustaining three shotgun wounds on Saturday (August 25). 

It is believed that the motive for the attack was to rob Du Plessis.

Du Plessis was shot by two assailants while kayaking down the Ucayali River near the provincial capital of Pucallpa. The first shot knocked the South African from his kayak, the second hit him as he headed for shore and the third struck him as he reached shore. 

Du Plessis, who began his kayaking challenge in late June, was able to escape to a village despite internal bleeding and a neck wound, according to the young man's father, Louis du Plessis, who flew from the US where he lives to be with his son. His mother, Robyn Wolff, who all expressed concern about her son's welfare, lives in Durban.

COMMENT: It is indeed fortunate that the South African was hit by shotgun pellets; if rifled firearms had been used he in all likelihood would have been killed.

Eventually, Du Plessis reached Pucallpa by motorized canoe thanks to concerned Peruvians, where he was flown to Lima's Anglo-American Hospital where he has been described as being in stable condition.

Du Plessis reportedly obtained a permit
from the Peruvian military before entering the zone where he was attacked and that the military had warned him that it was a dangerous area.

As I have mentioned in a number of previous postings, solo traveling in isolated, high-risk areas in developing countries is a very BAD idea. Du Plessis is simply lucky that he is still alive. 

Our readers might also be interested to know that a Polish couple,  Jaroslaw Frackiewicz, 70, and his wife, Celina Mroz, 58, were shot and killed by three local farmers and their belongings divided on the Ucayali River, not far from where du Plessis was attacked.

The couple was last heard from May 26, 2011, when they wrote in their blog that they were in Atalaya, a jungle city in the province, about 245 miles (393 kilometers) northeast of the capital of Lima. 

Frackiewicz was described as a retired professor at the Gdansk University of Technology and his wife was a retired hydraulic engineer.

This posting is also is an opportunity to point out that ALL foreign travelers should subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation coverage before leaving home, as most medical providers in developing countries require payment in advance before treatment is rendered.