Tourists cling to back of killer elephant

Tourists cling to back of killer elephant

PHANGNGA — A rampaging male elephant killed his mahout and fled into a forest with a Russian female tourist and her 8-year-old daughter on his back.

The incident occurred at Puvara Tour elephant camp which offers elephant rides for visitors in tambon Nop Pring of Muang district on Sunday when Sook Submark, 60, was steering 18-year-old Phlai Meow by a canal on a forest tour for the Russian mother and daughter, ASTV Manager reported. 

The jumbo, who was on musth, trampled Sook to death and ran into the wilds, carrying the tourists. Sook’s body was found in the canal about 200 metres away from where he was killed. 

A rescue team of mahouts, police and livestock officials later located the elephant in a palm oil plantation at an adjacent resort, about three kilometres from where Sook was killed. The team advised the tourists to stay calm to avoid provoking the elephant and causing him to run deeper into the woods. They then shot the animal with two anaesthetic darts.

Another Puvara mahout, who is also close to Phlai Meow, managed to jump from a slope and landed on his neck. He was able to control him and let the two tourists safely jump down from the elephant’s back. 

Puvara manager Waraphorn Kasetkararn said Sook and his family had brought Phlai Meow, one of seven elephants at the camp, to work with her two years ago. The pachyderm was clever and playful and never hurt anyone. 

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