July 19, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Spanish tourist dies underfoot by herd of elephants

Wanting to photograph a herd of elephants in a South African reserve, a Spanish tourist got out of his car and was trampled to death by the massive animals.

According to police, a 43-year-old man from Spain arrived in Pilanesberg National Park last Sunday morning with his fiancée and two friends, residents of Johannesburg. The group of tourists were traveling in their own car and stopped near three elephants with their babies.

The man wanted to take a spectacular photo and got out of the car, despite warnings from fellow passengers and passengers in two other vehicles that were there. According to Peter Nel, a representative of the local tourism board, the female “got excited” and rushed at him as soon as he tried to get closer to the animals. Other female elephants joined in, and the man simply had no chance of saving himself – he was literally trampled to death. He was quickly taken to the hospital, but his injuries were incompatible with life. No one else was hurt.

More than a million people visit South Africa's parks every year. Authorities are warning of the need to take precautions. Tami Matshego, CEO of the North West Parks and Tourism Board, says quotes BBC:

“Visitors are constantly reminded of the importance of remaining in their vehicles while visiting the park, maintaining adequate distance between animals and vehicles, allowing animals to move freely and only exiting vehicles in designated areas.”

It is “normal behaviour” for wild elephants to protect their young, according to the tourism organisation’s Mr Nel. Elephant attacks are not uncommon. An 80-year-old US woman was previously killed by an elephant that attacked her safari vehicle in Zambia. In 2019, an alleged rhino poacher was trampled by an elephant and then eaten by a lion pack in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

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