Police question owner and mahout after elephant killed visitor
- Published: 27/05/2013 at 07:31 PM
- Online news:
AYUTTHAYA – More evidence is needed before police decide whether charges will be filed after an elephant stomped a visitor to death at a kraal on Saturday, a police officer said on Monday.
A ritual is performed at Lae Paniad Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya province on Monday to saw off the ends of Plai Big’s tusks and free him from the spirit of Orn-uma Leksathan, who was stomped to death on Saturday. Her husband was gored trying to save her. (Photo by Sunthon Pongpao)
Pol Lt Col Pimuk Nakkhamphan, an investigator at Ayutthaya police station, said Itthiphan Khaomalai, the manager of Lae Paniad Elephant Kraal, and a mahout were summoned for questioning.
Police will question other witnesses, including the injured, before deciding on the charges, he added.
Mr Itthiphan said the mahout, whose name was not identified, will not go into hiding.
Orn-uma Leksathan, a nurse at Wang Muang Hospital in Saraburi province, and her husband Narongsak were visiting Ayutthaya on a family trip when the tragedy occurred.
Orn-uma reportedly offered some food to the elephant at Lae Paniad Elephant Kraal. Plai Big, a 27-year-old male elephant weighing about 3 tonnes, with 1.5m long tusks, grasped her hand with its trunk, pulled her toward the pole to which it was chained, and then stomped on her with his foot.
When her husband Narongsak rushed to help her, the elephant gored him in the right thigh and threw him into the air.
Family members took Orn-uma and her husband to Ayutthaya Hospital, where the nurse was later pronounced dead from massive injuries to her internal organs.
Mr Narongsak was seriously injured.
Thongrian Meephan, the owner, said the attack occurred in a restricted area behind the kraal where elephants are held after working hours. It happened shortly before dusk when no handlers were with the animals.
Mr Thongrian believed Plai Big became frightened when he was approached and offered food. It would have been his instinct to protect his tusks, tail and handler, he added.
In light of the attack, he said, the ends of the elephant's tusks had been sawn off, reducing the length of each by about 20 centimetres, and a ritual had been performed to free him from the spirit of the dead woman. Plai Big would not work with the public again, Mr Thongrian added.
About the author
- Writer: Sunthon Pongpao