American actress Ashley Judd said she may have died without the help of locals after breaking her leg in the African rainforest.
The star of films including Heat and Olympus Has Fallen said she was left in “primal pain” after fracturing her leg in four places and sustaining nerve damage in a fall in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Judd, 52, wrote on social media she spent five hours on the rainforest floor before having her leg readjusted and travelling for more than 50 hours over rough terrain.
She posted pictures from the incident to Instagram, showing her being carried in a makeshift stretcher, riding on the back of a motorbike with her leg in a splint and being comforted by her rescuers.
Judd, who was with a team of researchers to examine bonobo apes when she was injured, wrote: “Friends. Without my Congolese brothers and sisters, my internal bleeding would have likely killed me, and I would have lost my leg.
“I wake up weeping in gratitude, deeply moved by each person who contributed something life giving and spirit salving during my grueling 55 hour odyssey.”
Judd thanked those who helped her, describing them as “heroes”.
They included a man named Dieumerci, who Judd says stretched his leg out and put it under hers to keep it still and Papa Jean, who readjusted her leg so she could be transported to a hospital in South Africa.
Judd said another, named Maradona, drove her to medical help on a motorbike.
She added: “We have a nice friendship, discussing the pros and cons of polygamy and monogamy.”
Judd also thanked the women who helped her and said: “The women! My sisters who held me. They blessed me.”