Ashley Judd recounts ‘harrowing’ leg injury in African jungle

Actress Ashley Judd attends The Women’s Media Center 2017 Women’s Media...
Actress Ashley Judd attends The Women’s Media Center 2017 Women’s Media Awards at Capitale on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in New York. (WTVG)
Published: Feb. 13, 2021 at 5:53 PM EST
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(CNN) -Actress Ashley Judd is in an ICU unit in South Africa after her leg was “shattered” in an accident in the Congo, which she recounted in an Instagram Live interview.

“Accidents happen -- and there was a fallen tree on the path which I didn’t see and I had a very powerful stride going and I just fell over this tree,” she told New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on Friday. “As I was breaking my leg, I knew it was being broken.”

It took an “incredibly harrowing 55 hours” to get her from the jungle to an operating table in South Africa.

She was stuck on the ground for five hours with a “badly misshapen leg,” biting a stick because of pain, and “howling like a wild animal.”

She was eventually taken to a trauma unit on a motorcycle while holding the top part of her broken tibia together.

“We did that for six hours,” she recalled. “I was at the edge of my very edge.”

The “Double Jeopardy” star and activist spends much of each year in Africa and wanted to use the interview to raise awareness of issues of poverty and animal protection. She was there on a research project on bonobos, a species of endangered primates.

Judd acknowledged the “privilege” that allowed her to receive relatively swift medical care. “Most of the people I know would not have had access.”

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