Hero tour guide rescued twins after croc attack using oar to ward off beast

A HERO tour guide has told how he rescued two Brits from a Mexican river after a crocodile attack – while clutching an oar to ward off the beast.

Gerardo Escamilla Perez, known as ‘Lalo’, had taken a group of four tourists out bird watching when he heard piercing screams from twins Melissa and Georgia Laurie.

The large reptile had dragged Melissa, 28, into a death-roll just after 6pm on Sunday in the Manialtepec river, close to the resort town of Puerto Escondido.

The pair only narrowly avoided death thanks to the brave actions of her sister Georgia who fought off the beast with a flurry of punches and swam back to the tour boat on Sunday night while their friends called for help.

Crucially, experienced guide Lalo, 58, was on the scene and told The Sun the attack happened next by a mangrove in the river – and NOT in the nearby Manialtepec lagoon, which is a haven for swimming tourists.

Local authorities have said the grassy area in the river is a well-known spot for nesting crocs.

Lalo said: “I started hearing screams coming from the mangrove and the high grasses – most of the screaming was in English.

“I saw a man on top of a mangrove tree asking for help. I asked what was going on and all I could hear was the word ‘crocodile’ several times.

“I heard a woman’s voice yelling.

“My tourists got scared and didn't want me to help in case there was a crocodile in the water that could jump on their own boat, but I assured them it was safe.

“I was holding an oar in my hand in case I needed to battle the crocodile. When I arrived, I saw two women in the water.

“One was sitting next to the other, who was lying down and holding her head. The lady that was lying down had visible bite marks. The lady sitting was asking for help.”

Lalo, who has been a tour guide in the area for 30 years, performed first aid on the pair before helping them carefully out of the shallow water.  

A passing boat then took them to a Red Cross ambulance which was waiting in a nearby town.

Melissa, from Sandhurst, Berks, suffered severe injuries and remains in an induced coma in hospital having contracted sepsis from the horrific croc attack.

According to sister Hana this included an open wrist fracture, organ lacerations/internal bleeding and water on her lungs.

Consquentially, her family say that that her situation is "still really serious" and that they're "not relaxing just yet".

Zookeeper Melissa had been travelling with a sister before the incident occured on Sunday night.

Initially it was reporteded that she had been swimming in Manialtepec Lagoon, ten miles from surfing resort Puerto Escondido, when she was dragged underwater by the crocodile and thrown "around like a rag doll".

Her "bad ass" sister Georgia, who bravely punched the monster in the face 'three times' to save her sister, has since been discharged from hospital.

However, it quickly transpired that the pair may have been taken out by an unlicensed tour guide, who reportedly fled in the wake of the attack.

Tour guide Lalo said: “The twins weren't taken to this area by a certified tour guide.

“There are foreigners in the area that are fluent in two or more languages that are making easy money by taking tourists out, but they don't have the training for this.

“It is very unfair that they are taking advantage of the naiveness of the tourists, charging them a bit less than the official guides but risking them in these ways.

“It’s a very sad thing to have happened. I couldn’t sleep at night if some of my tourists in the group went through an accident like this.”  

Older sister Hana has now launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds for their family to travel to Mexico and for her sisters' medical care costs.

It has raised more than £42,851 so far. To donate to the fund, click here.

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