Patrick and Brigitte Fourgeaux's trip had looked like nothing less than a fairy tale at first, or at least a magical moment in Tanzania among the animals.
A trip gone horribly wrong
The retired couple went on holiday to the East African country in 2015 in the middle of summer for a kind of photo safari. Nights under the tent, organized trip... the couple thought they were perfectly safe. But in the dead of night, a lion comes to rip off their tent, 'plays' with the woman 'like big cats do,' as they relate today, and then the horrible event happened. Patrick (64) recounts with emotion in his voice:
The lion advanced towards me, then he must have touched me with its mane. I straightened up and found myself facing the lion's maw. He wanted to bite my face and I screamed like a beast […] as I stepped back, he tore off my arm and bit my face,
This catastrophe happened for one simple reason according to them: there was no surveillance. Only one guard was there, but he was alone and 'fell asleep in his tent,' laments the couple. This is why they filed a complaint against the British travel agency Africa Travel Resource.
The agency has just been condemned in court for its part in the events and the victim's lawyers reached a financial agreement to the tune of £100,000 mainly to cover legal costs. According to France Bleu, the damages have not yet been determined; though it should happen fairly soon.
Because these days, the retiree's life has been permanently altered. On his return, he was taken care of by French surgeons, underwent about fifteen operations, we learned, but can no longer use his arm.
The lion ripped my arm off from the shoulder to the forearm. There was only the bone.' he says, moved.
He also suffers from neuropathic pain. While he realises that his life has changed and that he will not get his arm back, the man above all wants to prevent the situation from happening again. The travel agency has since then taken new security measures. For the travel-hungry couple, Africa is now only a distant memory.