The bride who walked down the aisle five days after her arm was ripped off by a crocodile has talked for the first time of the attack.
Zanele Ndlovu, 25, and her British husband said it was a "miracle" that she survived the mauling on April 30 near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe where the 8ft reptile launched itself out of the Upper Zambezi River at a group of canoeists.
After days of hunting the crocodile, national park rangers found it sunbathing and shot it dead amid fears it would kill tourists having had a taste for human flesh.
In the meantime, Miss Ndlovu became Mrs Ndlovu-Fox having married Jamie Fox, 27, from Orpington in Kent, who saved his now-wife’s life in the attack.
With the bride-to-be’s arm in the crocodile’s mouth, Mr Fox repeatedly punched the animal in an attempt to loosen its grip.
Mrs Ndlovu-Fox was only freed when the predator – a Nile crocodile – performed a "death roll", tearing part of the former tennis star’s arm from her body.
“Jamie swam over to where I was struggling with the crocodile that was trying to pull me to the bottom of the river and grabbed my waist and with the other hand he rained blows down on the crocodile," she said.
"The pain was excruciating but Jamie was by my side and I summoned the strength to fight through it."
The couple were on the river with a group of canoeists and tour guides when the crocodile burst the inflatable vessels by biting them, sending them into the water.
While others were able to escape to the safety of the riverbank, Mrs Ndlovu-Fox became a victim of the crocodile, which has now been killed.
Tour guide Skinner Ndlovu said: "We started hunting for it on Wednesday and we managed to shoot it on Friday afternoon with the assistance from a Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) ranger,”
“We were monitoring it and after positively identifying it through its bruises and being territorial and we shot it when it was sun bathing. Such crocodiles are a danger to humans and it was no longer safe at the site."
In spite of her injuries, the Fox-Ndlovu wedding went ahead, albeit at a different venue with the bride still requiring medical treatment.
Speaking from her hospital bed in Zimbabwe, she told the country’s Chronicle newspaper: "The vows say it all – in sickness and in health.”
Dangerous animals – crocodile
"The waters were very calm and we had guides and there were about seven boats in the water when the crocodile just jumped out.
“It jumped out of the water and bit a chunk of my right arm together with the side of the canoe which started deflating and it all just happened so fast.
“The crocodile bit me again and pulled me into the water. My husband was thrown out the opposite side so the boat was between the two of us.
“Jamie swam over to where I was struggling with the crocodile that was trying to pull me to the bottom of the river and grabbed my waist and with the other hand he rained blows down on the crocodile.
“The pain was excruciating but Jamie was by my side and I summoned the strength to fight through it and although he was in shock he calmed me down."
One of the tour guides who was first aid trained applied a tourniquet from the first aid kit while the other called for a helicopter to whisk Mrs Ndlovu-Fox to the nearest hospital.
Doctors at the Victoria Falls initially treated her then she was airlifted to the Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo where doctors had to amputate what was left.
The patient said: "I get depressed by people who come here to hospital and start crying. I know people feel pity for me but being sorrowful does not help the situation.
“I look forward to friends and family who are going to make me laugh and not remind me of what is going on – I actually spend more time comforting my relatives."
The couple had their wedding planned for the Busters Sports Club in Bulawayo but were unable to attend due to her injuries so decided to book the hospital chapel.
A Methodist Minister took the service which was packed with 60 of her closest family and friends and guests at Busters were able to watch the service by video link.
After Miss Ndlovu became Mrs Ndlovu-Fox they posed for happy wedding photo’s then shooed their family and friends off to their wedding reception but did not join them.
Doctors insisted she spent another 24 hours in hospital but discharged her yesterday and the couple plan to complete their visa paperwork for her to live in the UK.
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The new bride said: "I spent a lot of time preparing for my wedding day. I didn’t know that fate would have me being wed in a hospital chapel with one limb missing.
“But in all this I am not complaining and my wedding was the best and I am so happy we proceeded despite all the drama and I have a wonderful husband."
Groom Jamie, who works for the National Citizen Service, told The Chronicle: "It is a miracle she is here there is no other way to explain it. I thought at first it was a joke and it took about five seconds to see it was actually real.
“It just jumped from the water and grabbed her arm and she was pulled one side out of the boat and I fell out on the other. The crocodile eventually let go.
“I could see her arm hanging off and I could see it was really serious. The guides were using towels to stem the blood. She was lying on the floor of the boat.
"We are both outdoors people but I’m not sure if we will go canoeing again. I just want her to get better soon and then we can plan our lives together.
“I never even at one point thought of calling off the wedding. I love her even more and this incident made me feel even more the deep feeling behind our vows.
“For better or worse, in sickness and in health, that’s just how it’s going to be."
The couple met 18 months ago when Mr Fox was on a work programme in Zimbabwe and he visited her a number of times before proposing on Valentine’s Day this year.
He said: "I was at my most nervous as I so wanted her to say yes and she agreed and I approached her family and paid the bride price and we began planning.
“She planned the wedding and I am sorting out the visa."
His wife said: "There is always something good about life to celebrate. I just look out and see how beautiful the view is. Sunshine and green. I am happy."