Ashley Judd recounts a fall that left her “howling like a wild animal” and almost cost her leg in a Congolese rainforest.

Ashley Judd has recounted a painful ordeal she believes almost cost her a leg after she tripped in a Congolese rainforest and was evacuated by motorbike.

  • Judd said she was injured while in a rainforest looking for bonobos in the Congo
  • The actor said she tripped over a log and the fall shattered her tibia, which left her howling in pain
  • All up, she said it took 55 hours to travel to an operating table in South Africa

The actor said she was stuck on the ground for five hours with a “badly misshapen leg,” biting a stick and “howling like a wild animal” due to the pain.
Judd, 52, was injured when, up early with researchers in a rainforest looking for bonobos, she tripped over a log and the fall shattered her tibia.
She was carried from the rainforest in a hammock and taken back to camp.
From there she was evacuated by motorbike, with a driver steering and another man “holding the top part of my shattered tibia together.”
LoadingThat trip lasted six hours.
All up, she said it took 55 hours to get to an operating table in South Africa.
“I was at the edge of my very edge,” she said of the ordeal, which she described as a “catastrophic accident”.
She conducted two Instagram Live videos on Saturday with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, filmed from her hospital bed.
The accident happened while walking in the low light of the early morning, she explained.
“I was doing what I always do,” she said.
“Up at 4:30 in the morning with two of our trackers who are just these world-class, brilliant, brilliant men walking in the dark and my headlamp had new batteries but it was a little faint.
“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.”
LoadingShe said if she wasn’t a famous actor, she might have lost her leg or even her life during the 55-hour ordeal.
“The difference between a Congolese person and me is disaster insurance that allowed me 55 hours after my accident to get to an operating table in South Africa,” she said.
Judd said one of the reasons for telling her story was to share the conservation work she does involving bonobos in the rainforests of the Congo.