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British woman lived off five peanuts a day in 'spider-infested jungle hell' after boat trip turned into nightmare

Mirror Mirror 4/11/2016 Patrick Lion
British woman lived off five peanuts a day in 'spider-infested jungle hell' © Gazette Live British woman lived off five peanuts a day in 'spider-infested jungle hell'

A British woman has revealed how she survived in a spider-infested Mexican jungle eating just five peanuts day after an idyllic boat trip went wrong.

Rachel Bradley, 31, of Stockton in Teesside, battled raging rapids and skin-crawling bugs for five days as heavy rain plunged her into a nightmare environment filled with snakes and crocodiles .

An ambling river trip through the Yucatán Peninsula ended up with Rachel and her group covered in leeches.

Members of the party say their ordeal was like “all the best horror films”, The Gazette reports.

“Throughout it all there was that feeling of ‘what if nobody comes?’,” Rachel said.

“I just kept feeling guilty for my family back in Stockton, in case I didn’t come back.”

The four-person party had expected a couple of rapids along the way.

But the river turned into a torrent of lightning-quick rapids and waterfalls, pushing them back into the jungle’s heart.

“The water just kept flowing faster and faster,” added Rachel. “But at this point it was too late to go back.”

The group found themselves in more danger when one of their boats flipped.

Food, first aid equipment and the group’s GPS navigation were all lost in the flood.

“I had a couple of bags of peanuts left, and we were forced to ration them to five peanuts a day,” said the ex-Grangefield pupil, adding they also tried raw fish.

“We were forced to use mosquito nets to catch little fish that were no bigger than your thumb.

“We had to bite the heads off and swallow them whole.”

They were eventually rescued from their Mexican jungle hell by a man named “John of the Gods”.

Another member of the party, Jon Bonfiglio, has told TalkRadio how his jungle hell was spent in his underwear.

He lost his pants when he undressed to help a boat - before his vessel flipped.

He added: “We are not new to this game...(but) even the people there had no real sense of the river or its perils.

“In this day and age, there are still places that are unexplored - I didn’t have any kind of inkling we were going to get ourselves into what we were going to get ourselves into.”

Lost in the unforgiving 1.9m hectare jungle, the group’s survival instincts quickly kicked in and they anchored boats using vines to stop them floating off.

Without basic supplies, they were forced to sip filthy river water to keep going in the humid conditions.

And with the jungle submerged at this time of year, the group had to resort to sleeping on rough branches.

The second boat was ditched, in the hope of finding an exit, but as Rachel explains: “We realised the best way of being found was just to stay still.

“Lying in a tree for a couple of days wasn’t the plan when we went out, but we thought the safest place was just staying put and hope someone could find us.”

They did find a way out, five days after they vanished, in the form of a local boat captained by a man whose name translates to “John of the Gods”.

They were taken to a nearby home where they showered, ate and rested.

“They tried ushering us into ambulances when we arrived back at land, but we were all OK,” added Rachel.

“My legs were all cut from the palm leaves and I had bruising on my bum from sleeping on a branch.

“I had an eye infection too, and one of the locals said they would blow a sap leaf from a tree into it to make it better.

“I just thought ‘I’m going to have to go along with this’ considering what we had already been through. There was loads of green gunge in it but by the next day it was fine.”

Incredibly, after her ordeal, Rachel is now back on another adventure, as she is in Central America as part of a conservation project.

And she added: “Being in the jungle with just the clothes on my back didn’t faze me - it was my family back in Stockton who were on my mind the most.”

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