Westport resident shares near-death experience from trip to South Africa

Walter Fischel was violently carjacked and shot in the face on his way from the airport to his friend’s home.

Nicole Alarcon Soares and Jeff Derderian

Dec 28, 2023, 10:14 PM

Updated 144 days ago

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A Westport resident who was visiting longtime friends in South Africa had a near-death experience.
Walter Fischel was violently carjacked and shot in the face on his way from the airport to his friend’s home in Nyanga, South Africa.
“I felt my jaw rip off, and they're reaching over trying to grab me and the keys,” said Fischel. All of his belongings were stolen.
Fischel says he'd been on the road for about 15 minutes when he got stuck in traffic. Four men suddenly surrounded his car.
He said he heard a loud bang and his passenger window shattered, with glass spreading everywhere.
Fischel was working in Israel when the war broke out. His company was able to get his team safely out of Israel, so he headed to South Africa on a holiday.
He is an ironworker who has traveled almost everywhere in the world.
“A few years in Africa, Brazil, the South Pole, worked in China, Jamaica, New Zealand,” says Fischel.
The father of three says he is lucky to be alive and described his latest trip as a holiday from hell.
Fischel said he knew something didn't feel right when he was stopped in traffic and was hit with an instant gut feeling. 
His surgeon says it was a deflected bullet that could’ve been deadly.
“A deflected bullet that could go to the brain or maybe hit main vessels in the neck,” said Dr. Denis Allard.
Fischel will need time to recover as the bullet left him with some nerve issues, but that is not stopping him from planning his next trip abroad. 


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