Steve Buff (Ethiopia 1964-66) and Ethiopian George Christodoulos and other paddled back and forth along the river until dusk searching for any sign of the crocodile or Bill Olson. Bill disappeared at 3:45 in the afternoon, but by evening, many groups, including Dow and Luthy, were still searching. George, his cousins, Evelyn Ashkenaze and Steve scanned the river and its banks with searchlighs from George’s Jeep. There was no sign of the crocodile. Fires were started to keep the crocodile from coming on shore.

While Dow wanted to shoot the crocodile in the water, but Luthy pointed out that killing the animal would mean that Olson’s body would be lost. He reasoned that the crocodile would behave like any other; that is, he would come out of the river early next morning, not too far away, to rest in the morning sun for a while, after the activities of the night.

At seven the next morning the local people spotted a crocodile across the river, not 50 yards from where Bill had been taken, and alerted Luthy and Dow. “We were determined to destroy this croc,” Luthy would write in a short report published in Eyelids of Morning, “not only because it was a menace to the people on the river but also because an undeniable vengeance was in us.”

Dow, reported Luthy, wanted to be the one to kill the crocodile. He went off on a careful route which took him upstream on foot for some distance, then  across the Baro in a canoe and back down the other side on a painstaking stalk until eventually he lay behind the crocodile. It was a difficult shot with the crocodile facing away from him so that it protruding back partially obscured its head.

The Colonel shot too high and the bullet struck its neck, temporarily stunning the reptile, but causing only a flesh wound. He then fired four more shots, three of which were well placed, but despite this the croc crawled into the river and disappeared.

Luthy reported: “I watched all this through binoculars and feared at first that we’d lost the beast.  I joined Dow and together we made for a sandbank in midstream, followed by a flotilla of dugouts, carrying the other Peace Corps and as many Amhara an Anuak villagers as could get in the canoes, all noisy and excited.

They stepped onto the sandbank and began searching the river for some sign of the crocodile. Luthy writes, “Quite suddenly it surfaced not ten yards away and Dow, rather hastily, shot and missed. But the animal, mortally wounded took no notice and Dow was able to fire again, this time hitting the head, sending the brute spinning crazy about its own axis. I rushed forward with several other men and we dragged the carcass from the water onto the sand.”

Steve Buff recalls: “Townspeople were rejoining. It was a victory, after all, over a dragon, an historic enemy of the Anuak and Nuer, a monster whose kind had pulled down and fed on children and adults on river shores for as long as anyone could remember.

“There it lay, facing the river, fluid dribbling out of its closed jaws, broad, tall, enormous, a nightmarish alien species, more like a dinosaur than anything else. Luthy was anxious to cut open the crocodile’s belly. Evelyn stepped a few feet away and turned in the opposite direction. Luthy, with considerably insensitivity, said, ‘Let’s see what’s in here’ and cut the crocodile open with a large hunter’s knife. ”

End of Part Six