Ele­phants in m-way smash

Easter traf­fic op­er­a­tion fin­ishes with 27 deaths around the coun­try

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Dave Jones djones@cb­news.es

One of cir­cus ele­phants that were loose on the A-30 mo­tor­way on Mon­day af­ter the lorry that was trans­port­ing them crashed is care­fully re­moved by emer­gency ser­vices as­sisted by a mo­bile crane. An on­line pe­ti­tion to de­mand they are not re­turned to cir­cus life has been put to­gether -

A LORRY trans­port­ing five ele­phants caused traf­fic chaos when it crashed on the A-30 mo­tor­way on Mon­day at 16.03 be­tween Al­bacete and Mur­cia.

Trag­i­cally, one of the ele­phants died in the ac­ci­dent, which oc­curred at Pozo Cañada dur­ing the fi­nal phase of the na­tional road depart­ment (DGT) traf­fic op­er­a­tion for the Easter hol­i­days.

Large tail­backs were recorded as the mo­tor­way was closed for nearly three hours while emer­gency ser­vices teams worked at the site.

A DGT spokesman re­ported that the trans­porter car­ry­ing the cir­cus an­i­mals had turned over dur­ing an over­tak­ing ma­noeu­vre to pass a long ve­hi­cle car­ry­ing a spe­cial load driv­ing at a very slow speed.

He ex­plained that although the pro­ce­dure had ap­par­ently been car­ried out cor­rectly, the lorry top­pled over as it moved into the fast lane, ‘prob­a­bly due to the dis­tri­bu­tion of weight or the move­ment of the ele­phants’. How­ever, he stressed that the ac­ci­dent is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The ele­phants were thrown from the ve­hi­cle dur­ing the crash and one died from the in­juries it sus­tained.

Two oth­ers were in­jured, one suf­fer­ing a bro­ken foot.

Videos taken at the scene by mo­torists showed the stricken an­i­mals walk­ing on the mo­tor­way next to the ve­hi­cle and later mov­ing away to try to graze on nearby land which was prac­ti­cally empty of veg­e­ta­tion.

A spe­cial crane had to be called in to lift the two in­jured ele­phants onto trucks brought in to move them.

The driver of the lorry es­caped un­in­jured.

An­i­mal rights as­so­ci­a­tions voiced their dis­gust at the in­ci­dent and called on all cir­cuses us­ing an­i­mals to be banned.

As Costa Blanca News went to press it was re­ported that the four sur­viv­ing ele­phants have been trans­ferred to a ware­house near the ac­ci­dent site, which has ac­cess to an open-air area. Lo­cal po­lice re­ported that ‘they are re­ceiv­ing the treat­ment they need’ un­til they can be moved.

An­i­mals rights party El Par­tido An­i­mal­ista has launched a pe­ti­tion which can be found on their web­site (pacma.es), to pre­vent the ele­phants be­ing re­turned to the Got­tani cir­cus.

Easter traf­fic cam­paign

The DGT re­ported pro­vi­sion­ally that a to­tal of 27 peo­ple died in ac­ci­dents around the coun­try dur­ing the Easter cam­paign, which started on March 23 and ended on Mon­day (April 2) at mid­night.

A to­tal of 15.5 mil­lion jour­neys were recorded dur­ing this pe­riod.

A spokesman for the DGT noted that this was the same num­ber of deaths as last year.

Most of the ma­jor traf­fic prob­lems oc­curred around Madrid and in Cataluña, with hol­i­day­mak­ers re­turn­ing to the ma­jor cities on Sun­day and Mon­day.

Protests by pro-in­de­pen­dence sup­port­ers in Cataluña caused long tail­backs on the AP-7 in Barcelona when they blocked the high­way on Mon­day at one of the toll booths.

Photo: EFE

The ele­phants loose on the mo­toway

The ele­phants were de­scribed as be­ing in a state of shock af­ter the crash

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