A couple is lucky to be alive after a car crash left them stranded in a remote part of South Africa for 12 hours as hungry lions roared around their damaged vehicle.
Park ranger Mario Titus, 46, was rushing his wife Grace, 34, to a hospital more than 100 miles away from their home in rural Mata Mata last September after she started suffering high blood pressure and shortness of breath.
While driving in the dark, Mario accidentally veered off the road and collided with a tree, crushing the car and leaving Grace with six broken bones and cuts so deep that she looked like she’d “been bitten by a shark.”
The mom of three was trapped inside the automobile, passing in and out of consciousness due to blood loss. The couple, who were still 12 miles from the hospital, had no cell phone service to call for help.
“My husband tried to help me get out but he couldn’t and he wanted to walk for help but I saw three lions on the road right before we crashed so we said if we had to die, we would die together,” Grace harrowingly recalled in an interview with Kennedy News on Friday.
“It was terrifying. There were noises from the lions roaring and I was passing out. I was in a lot of pain and weak from losing blood. When I heard the lions, I said to Mario ‘Oh no, we’re going to die now’. I thought the lions were going to come, drag me from the car and eat me alive. I thought they would smell the blood because I lost a lot.”
As the night dragged on, temperatures dropped, leaving the pair shivering inside the crushed car.
“The only thing I was thinking of was my kids. I was thinking ‘I can’t die now. I have to live, I have children.’ We started praying that we were going to make it. It was very dark and cold, I prayed to God to warm my inner body,” Grace stated.
Mario added: “The side of the car where Grace was sitting was open. I know there were animals in the area. We’re very fortunate that nothing happened in terms of animals because I was worried as to how I would keep hyenas or lions at bay. We could hear them roar and they were close.”
The pair remained inside the vehicle for 12 hours. Shortly after dawn, a driver of another vehicle spotted the couple’s mangled car on the side of the remote road and stopped to help.
The Good Samaritan rushed the pair to the hospital where Grace had a blood transfusion. She spent the next five months recovering at the medical facility as her wounds had become infected.
Doctors told Grace it was a miracle that she’d survived her injuries after spending 12 hours in the freezing cold.
“It was such a relief when help finally came but then we realized the amount of injuries that Grace had sustained and it was worrying,” Mario declared.
Grace added: “There were four doctors in the town which was lucky. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have made it. I lost a lot of blood. I had a broken pelvis and leg and deep wounds under my breast and neck.
“It was a miracle that I survived,” she added. “The doctor said they didn’t think I would make it.”
Despite her extensive injuries and prolonged recovery, Grace is grateful to now finally be back home with her children.
“I think God has a purpose for me and it wasn’t my time to go,” she declared. “Every time I had a setback I pray to God to keep me alive for my children. I can’t believe I was so strong.”
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