A group of wildebeest drinking at a waterhole got quite the surprise when, out of nowhere, a crocodile emerged from the water looking for a snack.

The incredible footage was captured on a safari with Chasin’ Africa in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The surprising interaction demonstrates just how close danger always seems to be for animals in the wild.

The unsuspecting wildebeest had been taking a drink when the croc launched itself high out of the water and grabbed one of the animals, sending the others scrambling. With the wildebeest’s head locked between its powerful jaws, the hungry predator dragged the struggling animal into the water, where a second crocodile quickly closed in on one of its back legs. The unlucky victim would have likely drowned to death had some unlikely heroes not intervened.

In a twist of fate, a pod of hippos that had been watching the scene from land charged in and quickly surrounded the thrashing trio. For a moment, it was unclear whether they were looking to get in on the action, but the hippos attacked the crocodiles, forcing them to release their grip on the wildebeest.

“The wildebeest was obviously exhausted and it seemed as if the hippos sensed its fear of the whole ordeal,” Chase, the owner of Chasin’ Africa, told Latestsightings.com.

After a long battle, the wildebeest miraculously managed to escape as the hippos kept a watchful eye. However, it was clear from the way it limped back onto land that the animal was badly injured and unlikely to survive for much longer in the wild.

“It was exciting to watch in the beginning but then a deep sense of sadness overcame everyone,” said Chase. “Nature can be cruel, but the circle of life must go on.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a hippo get involved in a battle between predators and prey — only it doesn’t always end this well.