Safari tourist crushed to death by elephants after leaving car ‘for a close-up’

African Elephants in Pilanesberg Nature Reserve walking, with Elephant Calf
The adult elephants trampled the man to death when he got too close and spooked them (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A man has been crushed to death by a herd of adult elephants after he got out of a car to take photos of them.

The Spanish tourist, 43, was warned not to leave the car by his three other passengers who were not harmed on Sunday at the Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa.

A 3.5 ton adult female protecting her young charged towards the man before two other adult elephants joined in with the chase.

He ran back but was overtaken by the elephants who completely crushed him within 30 seconds.

The incident happened in front of his fiancé and all that was left was his body crushed into the earth and his blood-soaked clothing.

A North-West Parks & Tourism Board spokesperson said: ‘The elephants moved away immediately from the scene without any aggression towards the nearby vehicles and disappeared in the bushes.

‘Park officials were alerted and immediately rushed to the scene to aid the affected persons and secure the scene and assist with the investigation.

‘Statements by witnesses who observed the whole incident further suggest the female elephant that charged and attacked might have done so to protect the herd and young ones.’

A herd of african elephants in a green and grassy landscape
The tourist’s body was left crushed into the ground (Picture: Getty Images)

The acting conservation chief for the park Pieter Nel said the case had been handed over to police.

He said: ‘The Board is very saddened by this tragic accident and would like to express their sincere condolences to the deceased’s next of kin and friends.’

A park ranger who wished to stay anonymous said: ‘It was a very stupid thing to do and the tourist was literally shouted at to get back in his car but wanted to get photographs of the herd.

‘He had walked too far away off the road to be able to make it back to the car in time when he charged. His friends were in a hysterical state and needed immediate expert counselling.

‘There was not much left to identify. The victim had been trampled into the ground. Sadly despite all the warnings people still get out to take photos but most are lucky enough to get away with it.

‘The herd were not to blame and were acting entirely as normal when they felt a threat to their young. Indeed they passed right past the car with the three of his friends in when they left.’

This is not the first time somebody has been killed by an elephant during an African safari.

view of an elephant in the african wild
Elephant attacks against humans in Africa have become more frequent in recent months (Picture: Getty Images)

An American woman was killed when an elephant charged at a truck she was in.

The killing happened at the Kafue National Park in Zambia in April and the horrible moment was filmed on a 45-second video.

The lone five-ton bull elephant can be seen in the distance running towards the vehicle before the unthinkable happens.

Just last month another tourist from America was trampled to death after she was thrown out of her vehicle by an elephant.

Juliana Gle Tourneau, 64, was watching the elephants in Zambia when one of them attacked the vehicle.

During the time Zambian officials warned tourists to be wary of observing wildlife like elephants.

In countries like Zambia and South Africa elephant populations are on the rise and they come into closer contact with humans as they search for food.

The main reason an elephant will attack a human on a safari is if humans get too close to them when they are guarding their babies.

Other reasons elephants could attack include provocation or perceived threat, habitat encroachment and captivity related issues.


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