South African Adventurer Dave du Plessis Shot During Amazon Expedition


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David du Plessis Photo:

If anyone still thinks an argument needs to be made for the value of Facebook, consider the story of adventurer David du Plessis and his mother, Robyn Wolff. The South African adventurer set off in July on a more than 4,000-mile, source-to-sea expedition of the Amazon River. He was posting updates on his blog and through social media. Then, roughly a day ago, his mother received a call. Her son had been hurt while in Peru. She knew little more than that. She had no contacts, did not speak Spanish, and was obviously distraught. Of course, none of that stopped her. The moment after she learned about her son, roughly 20 hours ago this past Sunday, she posted the following message on Facebook.

“I need help. Does anyone know anyone in Peru, Davey has had an accident in the jungle, and I do not know where to start.”

And shortly thereafter, another message.

“I am so finished I can't tell you, I have a
guys no in Peru. Who called me as he sent a distress. The no is +51
950829330. The guys name is Darwin. He called me. I can't speak
Spanish, and I am a distraught mother. Any help, whoever.”

Comments started popping up. Friends and strangers offered to translate. She found out a bit more information and shared it.

“Davey has been shot in the neck, back and is
not good. He is in hospital in pucallapa. Everything was stolen from
him. He called me now, he managed to escape from , after he was shot
and left to die. Please pray for this boy If anyone can help or speak
Spanish. Please only call me if you can help me from Peru My no is. +27824143108”

She found out he had been taken to the hospital. People posted that they would go there to find out about her son. She responded in thanks.

“There are so many good people in this world
helping me. This page has been my life line to my son, he is such a
beautiful child of the universe So courageous. He escaped Which is
just what this boy is like and went for many hours till some lady found
him in the jungle and got her brother to call from a call box and they
helped get him to hospital. I will let everyone know as I hear things.
Sorry if I keep posting , it helps me to know I have support. This is
the toughest thing to go thru. This boy is like my oxygen to live”

And then she received the full story. She posted it on Facebook so that everyone had more information.

“Got more information out of Davey. This
happened over 12 hours ago. He was shot at in his kaya[k]. He fell out.
Could not move his arm. They shot at him again he swam to get away. He
has bullets in his spine, face, neck skull arms. This boy then stayed in
the water thinking its over, but an instinct made him run, he ran for
about 5 km to get help, he had to drag his leg and his arms had lost all
feeling ,he found people on the other
side of the river, he tried to call for help, but no sound came out cos
he had been shot in the neck. They eventually saw him and wanted money
to help him, he got some help, but further along he was left in a boat
for 4 hours cos he had no money, eventually after coughing up blood ,
which would not stop, they got scared and helped him, they wrapped him
in plastic and blankets and not sure what happened from there, all I
know Davey said to be last night he thought it was all over. He said to
me, he is amazed he survived and ran all that way and is safe in
hospital. His face is numb, he can't hear properly, he has bullets all
over his body.

I dont know how anyone can survive that. It is
so hard as his mother to hear what he went thru, this is horrendous to
the worst degree. Davey is very emotional and can't believe he is

I have so many wonderful people helping me, and calling me from all over the world. Thank you.

This boy is a hero, and to endure this savage, horrific attack, I will
never know. Saddens me to the core. I can not sleep , I keep thinking
what my son went thru, and how he survived. There is no braver person
that I know. He has courage that I don't even know where it comes from.

This story is so horrific, I am traumatized beyond redemption right now,”

David du Plessis Photo: World Wonderer on Facebook

Wolff learned that a woman had found her son in the jungle and helped him get medical attention. The woman's brother called Wolff and passed the message along. Du Plessis had preliminary treatment at Pucalpa Regional Hospital, according to Adventure Journal. Eventually, a South African brewery helped organize and pay for a flight to get the adventurer to a bigger hospital in Lima, according to Explorer's Web. Du Plessis is now in that hospital. Members of his family are attempting to travel to Peru to be with him.

Update: Du Plessis's mother has reported that her son is in the ICU and will undergo surgery to remove a bullet from his lung. She is on her way to see him in Peru.

To follow along with updates from du Plessis's mother, go to World Wonderer – The Amazon on Facebook.

H/Ts: Kraig Becker on Facebook, Adventure Journal, Explorer's Web

—Joe Spring