British zookeeper Melissa Laurie fights for her life in Mexico after being attacked by a crocodile

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Twin sisters who were attacked by a crocodile while vacationing in Mexico had been taken on an “illegal” tour of a reptile-infested lagoon by a rogue guide who is now feared to have fled.

Melissa and Georgia Laurie, 28, had been assured it was safe for them to swim in the water ten miles from the Puerto Escondido surf resort.

But the pair were ambushed by the 10-foot-tall reptile, which dragged zookeeper Melissa underwater in a vicious “death roll.” She wasn’t rescued until her brave twin brother Georgia came to her rescue.

The veteran diver punched the predator repeatedly — fending off its terrifying advance three times — before she could get her sibling to safety.

Both women are still in hospital where Melissa is fighting for her life after suffering a series of injuries, including suspected pneumonia. Last night, their mother Sue, 63, said it was the unbreakable bond between the twins that saved their lives.

Twins Melissa and Georgia Laurie, 28, were attacked by a crocodile on vacation in Mexico after being taken on an 'illegal' tour by a rogue guide who is now feared to have fled

Twins Melissa and Georgia Laurie, 28, were attacked by a crocodile on vacation in Mexico after being taken on an ‘illegal’ tour by a rogue guide who is now feared to have fled

Mrs. Laurie said, “They’ve always been there for each other. The girls can fight like cats and dogs, but there is no closer relationship than twins. They will do anything for each other.

“And what happened in Mexico shows just that. If it hadn’t been for Georgia, who knows what would have happened.”

Their business advisor, father Sean, 63, said: ‘The crocodile took her’ [Melissa] in a death roll, turning her over under the water. Luckily Georgia has her.’

He said Melissa was in a serious condition and in an artificial coma after Sunday’s attack.

The father added that the twins – who are from Sandhurst in Berkshire – had repeatedly asked if it was safe to go swimming.

But their guide convinced them that the area, one of the few places in the world where glowing luminous creatures illuminate the water at night, was safe to swim in.

A friend said the guide, a German expatriate, visited the sisters in the hospital and saw the extent of Melissa’s injuries before fleeing the area popular with backpackers and surfers.

Travel companion Cassie Leventhal said last night she discovered that the guide was not registered and was known for conducting illegal tours.

She said: ‘He’s been doing this for a while and was called in by the locals who are licensed guides for hiring boat drivers and doing illegal tours in well-known unsafe areas, where crocodiles live, and not the location where all the legal, certified, sanctioned tours.’

Miss Leventhal added, “He’s been summoned in the past and for a few hours … nowhere to be found.”

The twins were assured it was safe for them to swim in the water, ten miles from the surf resort of Puerto Escondido (above)

The twins were assured it was safe for them to swim in the water, ten miles from the surf resort of Puerto Escondido (above)

Speaking of his daughter’s injuries, Mr Laurie said: ‘Melissa has cuts all over her abdomen, her body, bite marks.

“Her wrist is broken and stuck in several places. But her worst injuries are in her lungs. She was half drowned.’

The twins had stopped in Mexico after backpacking around the world in March and planned to return in November.

They had volunteered at animal shelters in the country, but took a break from work to begin the boat trip to Manialtepec Lagoon.

The twins’ older sister Hana, 33, said the couple had booked an overnight tour through their hostel.

Business advisor father Sean, 63, said: 'The crocodile took her' [Melissa] in a death roll, turning her over under the water.  Luckily Georgia has her.'  (File photo)

Business advisor father Sean, 63, said: ‘The crocodile took her’ [Melissa] in a death roll, turning her over under the water. Luckily Georgia has her.’ (File photo)

She said she was “very proud” of Georgia – who is “awake… but really stressed” – for saving her sister.

The twins are in a private hospital in Puerto Escondido, where Melissa – who holds a degree in animal management – ​​was placed in a medical coma to prevent infection.

Last night, the distraught family of the twins tried to find a way to fly amid complex Covid restrictions and limited flight options.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We support the families of two British women who are hospitalized in Mexico and are in contact with local authorities.”

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