According to a SANParks spokesperson, Erco “Boela” Janse van Rensburg woke up at 4.30pm in his tent at the Crocodile Bridge Camp in the Kruger National Park after being attacked by the hyena, which clamped its jaws around his head.
The hyena reportedly also dragged the boy around.
According to a media statement by William Mabasa, acting head of communications, the 15-year-old was camping with his parents.
“He was immediately rushed to the Medi-Clinic in Nelspruit after receiving first aid service by a nurse who was also in the camp.
“The Rangers came to the camp to look for the hyena but could not find her. They, however, found a hole under the perimeter fence where the animal could have came in.
He has since been taken to the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg after being transported by helicopter. He has undergone plastic reconstructive surgery.
On SANParks’ website, Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp is “a small and delightful camp situated in the southeastern corner of the Kruger National Park, on the northern bank of the Crocodile River, from which it derives its name”.
SANParks said it sincerely regretted the incident and sympathised with the family.
A number of guests have been killed by animals in the park during its long history. In 2014, a 29-year-old man was killed by a crocodile while playing golf at the Kruger National Park.
Jacques van der Sandt was attacked at the Skukuza Golf Course. The man had been grabbed by a crocodile at the Lake Panic Dam in the golf course area.
The crocodile surprised a group of people and snatched Van der Sandt, before disappearing under water.