The second Melissa Laurie locked eyes with a 10ft crocodile, she knew she was in “desperate trouble”, says Caroline Graham in The Mail on Sunday. The 28-year-old “keep-fit fanatic” from Berkshire, who once worked at Longleat safari park, had been backpacking through Mexico with her identical twin, Georgia, a teacher. A guide had taken their group birdwatching at the picturesque Manialtepec lagoon, near Puerto Escondido, and told them it was safe to swim. “I saw its eyes,” says Melissa. It stared back. “I went ‘S***, s***, s***! We need to get out of here now.’”
The crocodile silently closed in on Melissa. As her hand touched the bank, it yanked her back into a “death roll”. In a feat of “almost superhuman strength”, Georgia punched it repeatedly on the nose until it released her sister. “It felt rock hard, like punching a wall.” It attacked twice more before retreating. There was blood everywhere. Melissa had puncture wounds in her bowel and stomach. She remembers “screaming ‘Hug me, hug me’, because I knew I was dying at that point and I just wanted to be in [Georgia’s] arms”.
There was so much dirt inside her body that she developed blood poisoning and was put in a coma for four days while “being pumped full of antibiotics”. Georgia called their parents at 4am GMT to deliver the awful news. But Melissa made a “stunning recovery”, and plans to celebrate June 6 each year as her “re-birthday”. The twins are still recuperating in Mexico, and the outline of the croc’s jaw is clear on Melissa’s scarred leg, but she says she’s just grateful to be alive. “I’m happier than I have ever been.”