Adventurer shot in Peru river attack

A YOUNG adventure tourist seeking to follow the Amazon River from its origin to its mouth is in a stable condition in hospital after being shot and robbed by two youths, authorities say.

David du Plessis, a 24-year-old South African, was shot three times by two shotgun-wielding young men on Saturday while kayaking down the Ucayali River near the provincial capital of Pucallpa, said his father, Louis du Plessis.

"They set up an ambush and they shot him from the woods," he said.

The first shot knocked the young man from the kayak, the second hit him as he headed for shore and the third struck him as he reached shore, his father said.

Du Plessis ran about 5km to a village despite internal bleeding and a neck wound, said his father, who flew from the US where he lives to be with his son.

The young adventurer, who began his journey in late June, was taken downriver in a motorised canoe and arrived in Pucallpa after dusk, said Margot Sanchez, whose brother speaks some English and alerted Du Plessis' mother by phone.

"He was losing a lot of blood," said Sanchez.

"Our son is lucky to survive. It was 10 hours before he got to hospital," said the young man's mother, Robyn Wolff, from Durban, South Africa.

Du Plessis was flown to Lima on Sunday and was in intensive care at the Anglo-American Hospital.

The hospital's medical director, Dr Edgar Tejada, said he was in a stable condition.

Du Plessis apparently has a pellet lodged in or near his heart, said his father.

"If he had gotten shot with anything other than a shotgun he would not be here with us. He is very, very lucky," said Louis du Plessis.

The regional police commander in Pucallpa, Cesar Augusto Larrea, told The Associated Press that investigators had gone upriver to try to locate the assailants but had so far made no arrests.

Larrea said it was not the first such attack on a foreigner in the area.

In May 2011, a Polish couple was slain while kayaking in the same region.

Police arrested three farmers on suspicion of killing them.

Wolff said her son had obtained a permit from the Peruvian military before entering the zone where he was attacked and that the military had warned him that it was a dangerous area.


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