It's Drama O Briain

Dara comes a cropper in Zambezi challenge

Dara O Briain spent more than an hour clinging to a tree above the rapids of the Zambezi River after being knocked out of his raft.

He and Olympic triple jumper Phillips Idowu took a wrong turn during the Comic Relief Hell And High Water yesterday, and got swept down the fast-moving river.

As they careered past dense overgrowth, they were knocked into the water. But O Briain managed to cling on to branches sticking out of the water until help came.

‘It became a calculation of “I can hold myself up against this”,’ he said, visibly troubled after his ordeal.

‘There were two-and-a-half, three knots of rapids, which is like standing in a 90mph gale. So you can do it, but it’s eventually going to make you tired, so you’re weighing up whether to go while you are still able to swim at the other end.

Eventually rescuers realised the pair had gone missing and found them. O Briain then jumped from his perch towards their moving boat, and was dragged up inside.

Fellow adventurers Jack Dee and Mel C both fell into the water yesterday, too, but were quickly hauled to safety.

Radio One DJ Greg James, who is also part of the team embarking on the 68-hour trek, told the BBC: ‘Yesterday, things got really serious... We had the rapids to contend with

‘They were the back boat, and they got too behind the pack then lost the direction - it was pretty much a left or right choice – we went left, they chose right. It was a simple as that

‘It sounds funny now, but in all honesty there was about an hour, an hour an a half, when even the guides and the people who are helping us out here were very worried.

Here is the Comic Relief report on yesterday’s incident. Click here to donate.

Published: 30 Jan 2013

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.