Wolverhampton property tycoon in River Nile plunge back home on road to recovery
Millionaire developer Samuel Leeds had a miraculous escape when he hurtled over a waterfall on the River Nile.
A property tycoon cheated death when he hurtled over a waterfall on the River Nile after his boat capsized in rapids.
Millionaire developer Samuel Leeds had a miraculous escape after an aid mission to bring fresh water to African villages turned to disaster.
Mr Leeds shattered his kneecap after plummeting 20 feet and landing on rocks.
The Wolverhampton entrepreneur, who runs the Leeds Group based at Hilton Hall in Essington with his brother and business partner Russell, has been told he will never walk properly again.
He said he was ‘like a rag doll in the water’ when he was found.
The 27-year-old, who has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Richard Branson and Alan Sugar, was flung from his boat when it capsized in rapids and sent helplessly towards the rushing waterfall.
He was with his brother and a team of volunteers on a white-water rafting adventure in Uganda, which had been organised in preparation for the harsh conditions they would face on their African trip.
He was hauled into a rescue boat, before being rushed to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery after losing 25 per cent of blood from his knee.
But his ordeal was not over as the anaesthetic failed to work fully at the Ugandan hospital where he had surgery, meaning he was aware of what was going on. Doctors say he will be left with a permanent limp.
Mr Leeds, who snapped up Bewdley mansion Ribbesford House with Russell in May, admitted he feared for his life as he was sucked over the waterfall.
He said his ordeal last month was like a ‘horror movie’.
”The people from the rafting company said when they saw us fall they thought there would be deaths.”
He continued: “I was like a rag doll in the water, getting knocked around by rocks. When I plunged down the waterfall my knee smashed into a rock and I knew it was bad.”
The 27-year-old is now back at home wife Amanda in Lichfield, but his leg is in full plaster cast and he has just been told by doctors he may not be able to walk properly again.
Mr Leeds, a devout Christian, says the set-back will not stop his missions on the African continent, and his work as a successful businessman back home.
“I’m not the sort of person who is going to let something like this knock me back, I’m determined to prove the doctors’ wrong,” he said.
“I have a strong faith, a loving family and a huge passion for my work.
“It’s like Rocky said, it isn’t about how hard you hit, but how hard you get hit and keep moving it.”
From magic to property
Mr Leeds is no ordinary businessman, having left school at 16 and first setting out on a career as a magician.
But he soon discovered property and, at the age of 17, he went to a home-buying networking event.
He bought a house under market value and rented it out, the first step toward the multi-million pound business, Leeds Group, he runs with his brother Russell.
They now own 26 houses and the group, which also includes a construction company, a lettings agency and another firm sourcing properties for investors, has a turnover of £250,000 a month.
Mr Leeds also provides talks at property investment events and writes books. His latest, Buy Low Rent High, has sold 42,000 copies in 15 months.
He says he has been inspired by successful people he has met.
They include Alan Sugar, at a business networking event in London, and actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone at ‘meet-and-greet’ events in the West Midlands.
Samuel said: “When you meet such walking, living legends they are so special that a bit of their gravitas can rub off on you.”
But at the core of Mr Leeds’ life is religion. He donates 10 per cent of his profits, and his wages, to the Church and helping impoverished villagers in Africa through his Good News All Round organisation.
Disaster struck when they took part on the expedition called the Warrior Camp with students on his Property Investors Academy in Jinja, on the shore of Lake Victoria, two hours’ drive from the capital Kampala.
The white water rafting, part of the expedition, involved seven of his team, including his brother and sister-in-law Anna took place July 19.
Also injured was Anna who got taken away down the river and was not found for 45 minutes. She suffered a chest infection and a sprained knee.
Mr Leeds was treated in hospital and his mother, Sue Gray, flew out to from England to bring him home, paying £10,000 for the flight a week later. Back in Birmingham he continued treatment.
Mr Leeds said: “The boat capsized and we all got thrown down a big waterfall with rocks everywhere. All of us had lifejackets and helmets on, but it was a life-threatening situation.”
He will now continue his rehabilitation from home with his wife and their daughter Ruby. The couple is expecting a second child next year.