There are some things even helmets can’t protect against.
Evan van der Spuy was just riding along an open path on Sunday as part of the Time Freight MTB Express Mountain race outside Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Seemed like just another normal, summer day on the Albert Falls Resort and Game Reserve … until he was hit by a wildebeest.
Yes, a wildebeest.
Van der Spuy is a member of South Africa’s TeamJeep and was followed closely by his fellow racer, Travis Walker. Walker wasn’t competing that day and instead was working for the marketing company that sponsored the event, Max Cluer Sports Marketing. As a result, Walker had a GoPro camera strapped to his Volcan 29 mountain bike and caught the entire event on tape.
“It was freaky,” Walker said.
As seen on the video, the Red Hartebeest buck charged across the plain right into the unsuspecting Van der Spuy. He was thrown completely off his bike as the buck stumbled over his body before getting up and running away. His helmet imploded with the impact of the animal, which can weigh up to 440 lbs.
Walker said that the attack was completely unexpected.
“I saw it coming closer so I braked, thought it would go in between the gap. It hit him, lifted him off the ground, landed in the grass … he started making weird noises and I didn’t know what to do,” Walker said.
Walker and another teammate hoisted Van der Spuy to his feet and walked to meet the medics who took care of the injured boy. He was diagnosed with a minor concussion and whiplash but was discharged Monday morning.
The video captures the entire crash and is of surprisingly good quality, which leads us to question … is it real?
Since YouTube’s presence became ubiquitous, people have taken advantage of the largely uncensored medium to share whatever videos they want, whether they be real or fake. We saw a video of a man in China struck by lightning that was doctored, fake Israeli UFO videos, and the video that was featured on “Good Morning America” that staged a bride cutting off her hair before her wedding.
But Max Cluer, owner and CEO of Max Cluer Sports Marketing, said his company does sports marketing and would have no incentive to post a fake video. This is the ninth year of the race and Cluer said that he typically attaches GoPro cameras to bikes for marketing purposes. He posts the videos on his YouTube channel.
“We use this as a communication device for the events. That’s it,” Cluer said.
As fortuitous as it was for Walker to have a camera, he admits that his teammate perhaps got the short end of the stick.
“”It was being in the right place at the right time and Evan being in the wrong place at the wrong time one of those moments,” he said.
ABC News’ Jade Williams contributed to this report.