From: email@example.com (Scott Brown)
Subject: Sandy Rossi SBE miniflood - rossi.txt(1/1) 9546 bytes
Date: 16 Jul 1998 01:51:29 GMT
Organization: XMission (801 539 0852)
This is a transcript of an interview conducted on the Maury Povich Show,
first broadcast in the U.S. on July 8, 1998. The subject of the program
is "When Wild Animals Attack". In addition to this transcript, there
are a few video captures of Sandy originally published as "rossi??.jpg".
>> Maury: What do you think you would do if you were suddenly and
unexpectedly attacked by a wild animal? Now, our first guest Sandy
Rossi lost her arm when she was attacked. How did it happen?
>> Sandy: On the evening of march 13th, I was bathing in a river in
central Africa, as we were wont to do.
>> Maury: But wait a second. First of all, why are you bathing in
a river in Africa?
>> Sandy: There wasn't any running water or electricity where I
was, and it had been the tradition for 50 years to use this as a
>> Maury: and you were there because...?
>> Sandy: I was teaching. There was an american family that did
research on the Ituri Forest, and so that the children did not have
to go to a boarding school at an early age, they hired a private
>> Maury: had you bathed in the river before?
>> Sandy: Yeah. The children would swim there every afternoon --
two, three hours at a time.
>> Maury: So you and the children were in the river?
>> Sandy: Mmm-hmm.
>> Maury: Okay, and what happens?
>> Sandy: And we were bathing, but this particular occasion, we had
a gentleman with us, and so we had worn our swim costumes, and we
went down, and we were messing around in the water for about 15, 20
minutes, and I looked at my watch and said, "it's going to get dark
soon. We ought to get out." shooed the children towards the shore,
went underwater one more time to rinse out my hair, and that was
when a 14-foot crocodile chomped.
>> Maury: A crocodile?
>> Sandy: Mmm-hmm.
>> Maury: And when a crocodile chomps down on you, how -- how can
-- how can we relate this in terms of you're not going to be able
to dislodge a croc?
>> Sandy: No. They shut the jaw -- a crocodile that size has at
least 3,500 pounds pressure when it shuts its jaw, so the chances
of opening that jaw back up are pretty slim. It slams down pretty
>> Maury: And it goes right on your arm?
>> Sandy: Yep.
>> Maury: And what's the feeling?
>> Sandy: A log falling on you. It just felt like a big log had
smashed up against me.
>> Maury: Do you know what has happened to your arm?
>> Sandy: Even though it was unheard of to have a crocodile attack,
I somehow just knew. I figured it must just be my luck.
>> Maury: Well, that's a pretty cavalier attitude, Sandy.
>> Sandy: There's not much you can do. I mean, you're -- you're
clearly outgunned. Where I was not outgunned was in the fact that
a ccodile has a brain about the size of a walnut, and I thought,
"well, you know, I can surely beat this thing. I can think better
than it can." It had -- it has brain the size of a walnut, but two
million years of programming that says, "kill." And my option was
to either give in or to fight back, and I chose to fight.
>> Maury: Now is he still under the water with your arm? Is he on
top of you?
>> Sandy: Originally, when he came up, he grabbed the forearm and
just pulled. He just used his own weight, about 500 pounds, to pull
down, and I had two small children with me, and I didn't know
anything about crocodiles. I didn't know if they sort of swam in
pack or whatever, so I came up and was just sort of able to gurgle
out, "crocodile," as he dragged me back under again. He wasn't
happy about me trying to pull away, and as I was being dragged back
under, the children thought this was a joke, and even the gentleman
who was with me, Ken, looked over and said, "that's not funny."
Well, I got kind of hacked off at that. I thought, "no, it's really
not very funny. I have a crocodile attached to my arm." So I got my
feet underneath me, and my hand was sticking out the other side of
the snout, and I stood up, and I pulled the croc's snout out of the
water, and I said, "do you see this thing now?" And at that point,
the croc got really angry at being displaced from the water, and
pulled back underwater and started what's called "the death rolls."
Anybody who's seen "Crocodile Dundee" knows about the death rolls.
They drag you under, and they roll you and roll you and roll you.
>> Maury: And how do you dislodge yourself finally?
>> Sandy: Well... not easily. There was a series of about 8 to 10
sets of death rolls. He'd drag me under and roll me, and then he'd
stop in the water. Each time he'd stop, we'd pull in closer to
shore. He'd start rolling again, and I would just tuck and roll
with him, because, I mean, I didn't want to get my head bumped or
anything, so I'd kind of cover my head and roll with him. I mean,
the things that go through your mind -- I mean, I didn't want to
bang my face up, you know?
>> Maury: But are you thinking of death? Are you thinking of, "this
could be it"?
>> Sandy: It never occurred to me. Death was not an option. It
never occurred to me.
>> Maury: So finally, you get to kind of a sandbar area...
>> Sandy: Mmm-hmm.
>> Maury: And what happens?
>> Sandy: When we rolled over at one point, he rolled onto the
sandbar, and he couldn't really roll anymore. When he was in his
element in the water, he can just keep flipping and flipping and
flipping. On the sandbar, he can't flip. So he flips over onto the
sandbar. I got my feet in the mud. Ken was behind me. He just
pulled, and basically the arm gave way. He got a chunk of the arm,
and I got my life. It was an okay trade.
>> Maury: Did you know that he had taken your arm?
>> Sandy: Yes. I never lost consciousness. I was aware the whole
>> Maury: And through all of this, did the pain begin? Did you feel
any of that, or were you in shock?
>> Sandy: The pain didn't actually start until a few moments out of
the water. When the arm actually gave way, and I was out of water,
that's when the pain actually started.
>> Maury: Now to give you an indication of a crocodile and what
they look like in the same scene as your story took place...
>> Sandy: Mmm-hmm.
>> Maury: This is a picture of a crocodile removed from the same
creek where Sandy was attacked, and this is what it looked like.
Would you say that's about what it was?
>> Sandy: Yeah, and you can see, it's slightly underweight. That
one, they think was about 400 to 500 pounds, and for a 13-,
14-footer, that's a little bit underweight, I'm told, and that's
what the problem was -- is they had been pushed out of their own
habitat, and they had come further downriver seeking prey, and I
guess I was fat enough and glowed in the dark, and he went for it.
>> Maury: Now you're in the middle of Africa in the middle of --
you need attention. So how do you get this medical attention?
>> Sandy: About five minutes up the road, there was a small clinic,
where they put a better tourniquet on the arm. We had tied a
T-shirt around the arm, and there was a tourniquet on there, and
they put a better tourniquet on there. They gave me some serum and
some antibiotics and sent me on the road, and I was about 2 1/2
hours landwise from a missiony clinic. At the missionary clinic,
she completed the amputation, and the next morning, sent me to
Nairobi, where I spent two weeks in hospital there. Came stateside
and was in Barnes Hospital in St. Louis for about four weeks.
>> Maury: And when you think -- do you think about losing -- I
mean, what is that like? I mean, this is such a freakish accident.
>> Sandy: It's not about being a victim. It's about being a
survivor. It's about accepting life and your obligation to live it.
It's not about being a victim. It's not about giving in. It's about
your obligation to live what you have left.
>> Maury: This is some attitude. By the way, could you kind of
spread that around? I mean, can the rest of us get your kind of
>> Sandy: I mean, what you need to understand --
>> Maury: Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves all the time. I
>> Sandy: I was not defined by my left arm. My left arm wasn't who
>> Maury: I mean, I get a splinter in my finger and I go crazy, and
you have a better attitude about losing your arm.
>> Sandy: And pain is pain. I mean, I get a blister on my foot, and
I'll yap about it, too, but at the same time, you have to
understand that you're bigger than the sum of your parts. I mean,
my left arm did not define who I was, so losing it did not change
who I am, and that's what has to be focused upon.
>> Maury: Just to give everybody an indication of what Sandy is all
about, after you finally got out of the hospital, you went out to
a restaurant to order a meal.
>> Sandy: Actually, I was not yet out of the hospital, but I was
released to go on field trips, if you will, and a week to the hour
to the day that I was attacked, I went to a restaurant called "The
Carnivore" in Nairobi, and you can get all different kinds of meat,
and I was waiting until they came around with the skewer of
crocodile meat, and he put one little piece on my plate, and I
said, "no, no, give me some more." and he gave me a couple more
pieces, and I said, "no, give me some more." and he says, "how much
do you want?" I said, "I want an arm's worth. Give me some
>> Maury: And that's Sandy Rossi.