Outside Investigates The Death Of Hendri Coetzee

ben stookesberry ruzizi river

Back in December, the outdoor adventure community was stunned by the news that paddling guide Hendri Coetzee was killed while guiding a team of professional kayakers down the Lukuga River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Coetzee, along with American paddlers Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic, had just completed a tough section of whitewater, when a large crocodile approached them from behind. In an instant, the croc attacked, pulling Coetzee from his boat, and pulling him under the water, never to be seen again. It was a shocking and brutal reminder of how deadly Africa can be, but it still came as quite a shock.

In the latest issue of Outside magazine, the entire incident is explored in detail, and the article is quite a story to read. What we didn’t know back in December was that Coetzee was planning on hanging up his paddle and bring an end to his very productive career as a guide and professional paddler with some very impressive first descents under his belt. But as the story says, a predator in the water had a different ending to the story.

The article is entitled Monster in the River, and the entire thing can be read online here. The story is more than just about the tragic end of Hendri’s life, but it also about the way he lived it with a passion for what he did, exploring Africa’s most spectacular rivers and finding adventure in many different ways. He was truly an inspirational person who just happened to have met an untimely end in a most unexpected way. I highly recommend this story, as it is well told and offers a lot of insight into the man himself.

Another great job from the staff at Outside.

Kraig Becker

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