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Having half your arm ripped off by a ferocious chimpanzee isn't something you expect in the UK.

But that's exactly what happened to former SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ollie Ollerton, who almost died when he was savagely mauled by a chimp.

"There was a large part missing… half my arm was just hanging off," he told YouTubers the Mulligan Brothers.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the ex-Special Forces operative was just 10 years old at the time.

Back in 1980, he was heading to go swimming with his brother and a friend in thee Staffordshire market town of Burton upon Trent, when they stumbled across a travelling circus

"We were just crossing the River Trent – across the bridge – when we saw the big top setting up," he said. "We were so excited that our walked turned into a run – and before we knew it we were at the circus"

After someone there allowed them look around, the excited young Ollerton somehow got separated from the group once inside.

Having gazed at some of the animals, he was drawn to opposite side of the tent.

"I could see some light partially coming through the door," he said. "And I walked over to it. As soon as I opened the door, the sunlight hit me in the face, blurred my vision and then, all of a sudden when my vision cleared, I saw something that was amazing. Something that had me in a semi-state of shock."

What Ollerton had spotted was a baby chimp sat on the floor about 10-15 metres in front of him.

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"I was brought up on Tarzan – and that was Cheetah," he said.

He added "To me, this was like a little piece of Hollywood "I was brought up on cats and dogs. This was a baby chimp in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire."

The curious and enthralled Ollerton cautiously moved in for a closer look at the "beautiful little chimp".

"It stared at me with these big brown eyes, and it was a weird moment," he said. "It was surreal. We connected."

He added: "It was an amazing moment. It was so peaceful. The sky was just perfect. It was beautiful. Nothing else mattered in that moment."

But the tranquility last just a few seconds.

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"All of a sudden, the serenity of that moment was broken like a fighter jet in the sky when I heard the roar of something. I'll never forget that roar. I can still hear that roar to this day.

"As I looked into the background there were some shadows, there was a trailer parked there, but the whole area was enclosed – and something was moving. And it roared again."

As the shadowy figure came into focus, it turned out to be the baby's ferociously protective mum, a muscular 50kg female chimp, angry and charging towards him.

"It was making its way towards me at Mach 10," he said. "It was doing the whole sideways chimp thing. And it was roaring. It was absolutely ferocious.

"It wanted to do one thing – and that was to kill me and protect its baby."

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Before Ollerton had a chance to act, the chimp had leapt over its baby, landed on the terrified Ollerton and began its bloody attack.

"I was like a deer in the headlights, but I thought 's***, I've got to move,'" he said. "And as I thought that, this chimp pounced straight through the air – it must've been about 20ft – straight over the baby chimp.

"And all of a sudden, the blue sky turned to black and this thing landed on top of pinned me. It pinned me to the floor and started going about me trying to kill me.

"It was like a drummer in a rock band. It was smashing down with its fists onto my chest. The first one winded me – knocked everything out of me – then it started trying to kill me.

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"At one point I looked up and I knew that if I didn't do something I was going to die."

Ollerton soon started to notice "blood flying around" – and quickly realised it was his own.

"It was in that moment that I reacted," he said. "It wasn't something I thought about, but I reacted – fight or flight, and I reacted."

Ollerton somehow managed to dislodge the chimp from his chest by "about a couple of inches" – just enough room to about squeeze his knees up and boot it "full force" and knock it back by "a couple of feet".

"That gave me just enough space just to scurry away and then this chimp got up and it came on its final attack to kill me," he said.

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Fortunately, as the chimp charged one last time, it was immediately stopped in its tracks.

Its chain had caught on its neck.

"If it wasn't for that chain I wouldn't be here today," he said.

Covered in deep cuts and bruises, and "dripping with blood", the young Ollerton was in a state of shock.

Alerted by the attack, a shocked woman working at the circus rushed to his aid.

"At that point she put her hand around my wrist and turned it over," he said. "And she was in a state of shock. And as she turned it over… half my arm was just hanging out.

"That was the worst damage. There was blood everywhere – and she pretty much fainted."

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Ollerton was rushed to hospital who managed to save his arm, but his nightmare was by no means over.

A couple of weeks later, the arm almost needed to be amputated after it developed gangrene.

Luckily, it was saved for a second time.

Four decades later, Ollerton, 50, admits the horrific ordeal taught him a valuable life lesson.

"I had to step into the short-term discomfort for any long-term gain. The long-term was living that day – the short-term discomfort was taking the fight to the chimp," he said.

"That's how people live their lives. They're not prepared to step into that discomfort knowing that on the other side of that is the long-term gain.

"The way we're wired, and this is the way people operate, is everyone is taking short-term comfort. Whether that's drugs, drink, relationships, job choices – all the choices they make knowing that there's a level of comfort there.

"If you want to achieve anything in life, you need to take short-term discomfort for long-term gain."

He added: "I owe a great deal of thanks to the [email protected]

Watch the full interview here.

  • Animals
  • SAS

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