Ashley Judd is recovering after badly breaking her leg in what the actress called “a catastrophic accident” while traveling in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Judd, 52, said Friday she was traveling with her friend, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, when she tripped over a fallen tree and shattered her leg in four places, the Louisville Courier Journal reported. The fall also caused nerve damage to her leg, according to the newspaper.
Speaking from her hospital bed with Kristof during an Instagram Live session, the University of Kentucky alumnus said she was “in an ICU trauma unit in beautiful South Africa, which has taken me in from the Congo: a country I deeply love which is not, unfortunately, equipped to deal with massive catastrophic injuries like I have had.
“And 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 added.
Judd, who is also an activist, said she travels to the rainforest in the central African country several times to continue her work protecting the bonobo, an endangered great ape, the Courier Journal reported.
Describing the experience suffered during a predawn hike as “incredibly harrowing,” Judd said the ordeal “started with five hours of lying on the forest floor” until she was able to be evacuated by a colleague, People reported.
“With his leg under my badly misshapen leg, biting my stick,” Judd said on Instagram, holding up a piece of wood. “Howling like a wild animal.”
Judd spent the night “in a hut” in the Congolese city of Jolu before she was flown to the capital of Kinshasa, People reported. After a day in the capital, Judd was moved to South Africa for treatment.
Judd’s orthopedist said the actress will walk again but did not give a time frame, the Courier Journal reported.
“I have a journey ahead of me,” Judd told the newspaper. “But I remember that sometimes the dark isn’t really that far from the light.”
“I’m in a lot of love. I’m in a lot of compassion and I’m in a lot of gratitude,” Judd said during the Instagram Live session. “I thank everyone for their thoughts and their prayers and their support.”