Elephant leaves tourists upside down and petrified

2012-11-15 00:00

THEY were so scared after an elephant overturned their car in the Kruger National Park that they did not leave their rest camp for two days.

Chris Hare (40), from Durham, England, was relating what happened on Monday when an elephant bull overturned the Hyundai Atos in which he and his fiancée, Helen Jennings (40), were travelling.

Minutes after the elephant had overturned the couple’s car, he attacked a second car, occupied by an American tourist, about 100 metres further down the road.

Hare and Jennings recently became engaged and were visiting South Africa for the first time as part of their celebrations.

They were on their way to Crocodile Bridge when they came across the elephant. “As we rounded the bend, the big guy was right there in front of us.

“He walked towards us and I pulled off the road.”

Hare said the elephant walked past them at first. “Then, when I looked back, I saw him walking straight towards the car. He pushed his tusk up against Helen’s door and overturned the car! It was terrifying and I was thinking, ‘but this cannot possibly be happening!’ Fortunately the elephant’s tusk didn’t penetrate the door, otherwise Helen could have been badly hurt,”said Jennings, who suffered slight injuries.

The elephant then walked a short distance to a second car. Vasti Fourie and her partner, Ben Theron, witnessed the second attack.

Fourie said the elephant charged the car, which belonged to an American tourist, several times.

At one point the bull stuck its tusk under the Chevrolet Spark, lifted it up and then threw it down on the ground. The animal then disappeared into the bush. “We stopped at the car to see whether the driver was okay.

“He just sat rigid behind his car’s steering wheel, muttering — I didn’t know what to do.”

When Fourie and Theron continued along the road to see where the elephant was, they came across the upside-down British couple.

Fourie said rangers had found blood on the British couple’s car, leading them to suspect that the animal may have had an abscess on its tusk.

Ray Thakuli, spokesperson of SANParks, said the incident was being investigated.

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