South Africa: A Spanish Tourist Met His Demise When He Exited His Car To Take Photographs In A Game Reserve And Was Crushed By An Angry Herd Of Elephants

South Africa: A Spanish Tourist Met His Demise When He Exited His Car To Take Photographs In A Game Reserve And Was Crushed By An Angry Herd Of Elephants

The tourist was driving around Pilanesberg National Park with his fiancée and two other visitors on Sunday, July 7, when he stopped and exited the car.

Despite warnings from his three fellow passengers to return to the car, the 43-year-old tourist insisted on getting close-up photos of the six elephants.

According to Mail Online, a massive 3.5-ton adult female elephant, protecting the young members of the herd, charged at the man. Two other adult bulls also joined in the attack.

The Spaniard, screaming in fear, tried to race back to safety with his camera through the bush to his friends in the car. However, he was overtaken by the pursuing herd, who knocked him down and trampled him to death.

It was reported that the man was on holiday from Spain with his fiancée and two of her friends from Johannesburg when the tragic incident occurred on Sunday morning.

A North-West Parks & Tourism Board spokesman said: ‘The elephants moved away immediately from the scene without any aggression towards the nearby vehicles and disappeared in the bushes. The guest was a male Spanish citizen who had entered Bakgatia Gate with three friends and not far from the gate had come across a breeding herd of elephants feeding a distance from the road.

‘According to eyewitnesses the man decided to alight from the vehicle and approach the elephants on foot taking pictures. Despite warnings from his fellow passengers and occupants from two other vehicles that were at the sighting he unfortunately did not heed the warnings. An adult elephant charged at the man who then ran from the elephant.

‘He was unfortunately not able to escape or evade the elephant which was now joined by the whole herd. He was caught and trampled to death. Park officials were alerted and immediately rushed to the scene to aid the affected persons, 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. The case has been handed over to the police for further investigation,’ said Pieter Nel, Acting Chief Conservation Officer for the NW Parks & Tourism Board.

He further stressed that all tourists are warned not to get out of their cars and that information is printed on their entry tickets which is not just for the safety of the guests but also the animals.

Mr. Nel added: ‘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 speaking on condition of anonymity 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’ he said.

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