Over the past few weeks I’ve regularly updated readers on the progress of Davey du Plessis, the South African adventurer who was making a source-to-sea journey along the Amazon River. Yesterday that journey came to an abrupt end when Davey was ambushed by two men who shot him multiple times, took all of his gear and left him for dead. Fortunately, Davey was able to find help and was taken to a local hospital where his condition was stabilized and he has now been transported to Lima, Peru for further treatment.
Upon hearing the news, I immediately thought about the Amazon Express team, which consists of West Hansen and his crew, who are attempting to make a speed run along the the length of the Amazon as well. They are still miles behind where Davey ran into trouble, but I thought it important that they were made aware of the situation. It seems like that turned out to be a good thing as they were able to get in touch with Davey’s mom and speak directly to Davey himself, providing us with more information on the story.
It seems du Plessis was simply floating down the Amazon on his inner tube, as he had been for some time while navigating through the trickier sections of river. He then saw a young man, described to be in his early 20’s, appear out of the jungle, then quickly disappear, only to return with a second man. They immediately opened fire on the South African without a verbal exchange of any kind and without provocation. Davey managed to reach the shore and fled into the jungle, but by that point he had already been hit by several bullets. He ran for approximately 5km (3.1 miles) before finding help and even then, according to his mom, the locals were reluctant to lend a hand without first asking for money. He was eventually taken to a local hospital where he was treated for his wounds before being sent on to Lima today.
According to reports on his Facebook page, Davey is in the ICU where he is being treated for bullet wounds to his neck, head and back. He has shrapnel in his lung and arm and is in rough shape as you can imagine. That said, he doesn’t appear to be in immediate danger any longer, but doctors plan to wait for until he is stronger before going in to remove the bullets. Friends and family are en route to Peru to be with him today.
Keep Davey and his family in your thoughts today. The young man is lucky to be alive and his story is a grim reminder that the challenges of these adventures go well beyond the environment.