Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Comic Relief river pair swept away

Dara O'Briain fell out of his boat during his Comic Relief challenge on the Zambezi River
Dara O'Briain fell out of his boat during his Comic Relief challenge on the Zambezi River

The Comic Relief charity challenge on the Zambezi River took a wrong turn when comic Dara O'Briain and Olympic athlete Phillips Idowu were swept away from the rest of their team.

The other celebrities, including Melanie C and Jack Dee, lost sight of the pair as the river carried them off before O'Briain fell out of the boat and was left hanging on to a tree for around an hour before their guides came to their rescue.

Radio 1 DJ Greg James, who is also taking part in the challenge with actress Chelsee Healey, confessed he was left "shaken" by the pair's near miss.

He said: "We went on some rapids with two people per canoe and it all went horribly wrong.

"We actually lost Dara and Phillips - the rapid was so fierce and fast-moving that they got taken down a different channel of the river to the rest of us, into a different area with loads of different rapids, and had to try to stop themselves and hold off in a calm area.

"They were away for an hour, the guides could see them but we had no idea where they were."

There was also trouble for Dee and former Spice Girl Melanie, who ended up trapped beneath their canoe when it capsized and had to be rescued.

Jack said: "We've lost our boat, it's wrapped around the tree we hit. My helmet is covered in scratches. Luckily I'm not very bright so it's not a problem, but we could have been properly bashed up.

"I'm going to have to stop doing these things; I don't know why Comic Relief hate me so much. They're doing their best to do me in out here."

The stars can be sponsored at rednoseday.com/zambezi.

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