Thirty-seven-year-old Odessa, Florida, woman Kristen Yaldor was reportedly the victim of a hippopotamus attack that took place while she and her husband were canoeing down the Zambezi River in Africa.
As related by the Tampa Bay Times, the incident took place when Kristen was celebrating her 37th birthday with her husband Ryan Yaldor as they traveled to South Africa and Zimbabwe for a getaway that was also to include “safaris [and] a drum and dinner show.” When the couple took a canoe trip near Victoria Falls in the Zambezi River, they reportedly encountered a mother hippopotamus, who tried to protect her young calf by swimming underneath the canoe and flipping it into the air.
Although Ryan escaped unscathed after swimming to a nearby island, the mother hippo reportedly continued attacking Kristen, pulling her underwater and breaking her femur by chomping on her leg. After Kristen eventually escaped the hippo attack, it took one hour before a medical helicopter arrived to assist her, and another 13 hours before the helicopter landed at a South Africa hospital.
Ryan Yaldor’s mother, South Africa native Martine Yaldor, told the Tampa Bay Times that her daughter-in-law Kristen was lucky to have survived, as the hippo apparently used its flatter grinding teeth instead of its sharp incisors, and ended up missing her thigh during the attack.
“If one of those [incisors] hit her femoral artery, we would probably be planning a funeral today. By all accounts, she was incredibly lucky.”
Martine Yaldor also forwarded a number of emails to the Tampa Bay Times that allegedly pointed out differences between her son’s account of the incident and the version told by the CEO of Wild Horizons, the tour company Ryan and Kristen Yaldor had booked for their trip. According to the publication, there was a disconnect when it came to whether Kristen swam away from the mother hippo, whether the tour guide was able to ask for help, and the time it supposedly took for the medical helicopter to take Kristen to a hospital that could treat her.
“Kristen was pulled under as soon as she hit the water,” Ryan Yaldor recalled in an email.
“She had no opportunity to swim to shore.”
Florida woman attacked by wild hippo https://t.co/BEFDkaED74
— Juan Escalante (@JuanSaaa) December 4, 2018
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Wild Horizons’ version suggests that the company’s tour guide specifically told the Florida couple to swim to the island while he attempted to diffuse the situation by “distracting” the angry mother hippo.
Aside from stressing that her son and daughter-in-law did not do anything “frivolous,” as alleged by Wild Horizons, Martine Yaldor also accused the tour company of distorting the facts of the incident.
“I almost felt like they were going, ‘Ha ha, here’s another stupid American tourist.'”
As further noted by the Tampa Bay Times, a number of Zimbabwean news publications misidentified Kristen Yaldor by the first name “Christine,” and further alleged that she was “reckless” in her interactions with wild animals, while also ignoring suggestions from the tour company.
While Kristen Yaldor luckily survived the recent hippo attack, two individuals weren’t as fortunate during separate attacks earlier this year, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. The two fatal attacks took place at Kenya’s Rift Valley, with a local fisherman reportedly mauled to death and a Chinese tourist bitten “severely” just hours later as he was taking photos of the wildlife resort.