Ashley Judd opens up about traumatic incident in Congo jungle

Ashley Judd opens up about traumatic incident in Congo jungle

Ashley Judd has gone into detail about her horrific experience after shattering her leg in the Congolese jungle, revealing it was locals who saved her.

The beloved actress, who was in the Congo to track endangered Bonobos, explained that she sustained “massive catastrophic injuries” after tripping over a fallen tree. “What was next was an incredibly harrowing 55 hours,” she said. She then told fans how she lay on the forest floor in agony, with the belief that her “internal bleeding would have likely killed her".

However, she says she owes all her thanks to a man named Dieumerci, who “stretched out his leg and put it under my grossly misshapen left leg to try to keep it still. It was broken in four places and had nerve damage. Dieumerci (“Thanks be to God”) remained seated, without fidgeting or flinching, for five hours on the rainforest floor.”

The actress then described another local man named Papa Jean who spent five hours searching for her, gave her a stick to bite on, then went on to readjust the shattered pieces of her leg.

“It took five hours, but eventually he found me, wretched and wild on the ground, and calmly assessed my broken leg. He told me what he had to do,” she wrote.

“I bit a stick. I held onto Maud. And Papa Jean, with certainty, began to manipulate and adjust my broken bones back into something like a position I could be transported in, while I screamed and writhed. How he did that so methodically while I was like an animal is beyond me. He saved me.”

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She then went on to say a group of men improvised a hammock and spent three hours carrying Judd through the forest to find transportation.

The actress’ story does not end there though, as she told fans that her dear friend, a man named Maradona, volunteered to ride with her for six hours on a motorbike and kept her from falling off.

She wrote: “Didier drove the motorbike. I sat facing backwards, his back my backrest. When I would begin to slump, to pass out, he would call to me to re-set my position to lean on him. Maradona rode on the very back of the motorbike, I faced him.

“He held my broken leg under the heel and I held the shattered top part together with my two hands. Together we did this for six hours on an irregular, rutted and pocked dirt road that has gullies for rain run off during the rainy season. Maradona was the only person to come forward to volunteer for this task.”

Judd wrote that she made the decision to come forward about the accident as a way to spread the word about “what it means to be Congolese in extreme poverty with no access to health care, any medication for pain, any type of service, or choices.”

“The difference between a Congolese person and me is disaster insurance that allowed me, 55 hours after my accident, to get to an operating table in South Africa,” she says, adding that villages in Congo lack not only electricity but “a simple pill to kill the pain when you’ve shattered a leg in four places and have nerve damage.”

The actress now lies in her hospital bed in South Africa, saying: “I wake up weeping in gratitude, deeply moved by each person who contributed something life giving and spirit salving during my gruelling 55 hour odyssey.”