Ele­phant kills han­dler, runs off with tourists

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

BANGKOK: An ele­phant tram­pled its han­dler to death and ran off with two Rus­sian tourists – a mother and her 9-year-old daugh­ter – who were rid­ing it dur­ing a trek in south­ern Thai­land, po­lice said yes­ter­day.

Res­cue teams tracked the ele­phant down about 3km away and tran­quilised it to res­cue the tourists cling­ing to its back, po­lice Lieu­tenant-colonel Narong Lak­sanaw­imol said yes­ter­day.

“It took almost three hours for the ele­phant to calm down com­pletely.

“We had to tie it to a tree,” Narong said by tele­phone.

He said the an­i­mal be­gan at­tack­ing the 60year-old han­dler about 15 min­utes after the start of what was sup­posed to be a scenic ride for the tourists near a wa­ter­fall in the city of Phang Nga.

The han­dler’s crushed body was later found in a creek.

He said the male ele­phant had never at­tacked any­one since it be­gan work­ing for a tourist company two years ago, adding that the an­i­mal was in musth, a state of ag­gres­sive sex­ual ex­cite­ment.

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