Acclaimed Kayaker Missing After Croc Attack

Renowned outdoorsman Hendrik Coetzee presumed dead after Congo horror
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2010 1:59 AM CST
South African kayaker, Hendri Coetzee, who was leading two Americans on a whitewater expedition in Central Africa is presumed dead after a crocodile attacked his kayak and dragged him away.   (AP Photo-Fluid Kayaks-HO)

(Newser) – A first-of-its-kind kayaking expedition in the Congo ended in disaster after a crocodile snatched the leader, acclaimed outdoorsman Hendrik Coetzee, from his kayak. The South African is presumed dead. His two shocked American companions managed to paddle to safety, AP reports. The attack occurred on a stretch of a Congo river tributary notorious for whitewater, crocodiles, and hippos.

The expedition's aim was to document "the unexplored whitewater of the region, while focusing on the people and clean water crisis in Central Africa," sponsor Eddie Bauer said in a statement on the expedition blog. Coetzee was renowned both for his willingness to kayak in remote and dangerous areas and for his work on behalf of underprivileged children. "He was the bravest guy I've ever known," a friend said. "But he wasn't crazy. He was very calculated and set the bar high for future exploration in Africa."

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