Enraged elephant flipped car

Johannesburg - "The enraged bull elephant came at us from nowhere in a full-blooded charge. He hammered the front of the vehicle and drove us backwards into the bush."

Renowned conservationist Lawrence Anthony recounted how he and his friends were attacked by an enraged bull elephant.

Anthony and two friends were on a night drive at the Thula Thula game reserve near Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal when the animal attacked them.

He said: "The elephant then backed off, swung around to the left and before I could move, he charged at the passenger side, crushing the doors and smashing the vehicle right over onto its side."

'He trumpeted and stomped around'

Anthony said his two passengers fell on top of him and the animal attacked again.

"He charged again, and with incredible fury literally smashed the vehicle over onto its roof popping out the windows and windscreen. He continued to pound at us until the vehicle fell back on its side.

"He was trumpeting and stomping around completely enraged, but thankfully he had driven the passenger compartment into a thicket and he couldn't reach us."

Anthony said he managed to get his pistol and fired shots into the air. He screamed at the elephant until it backed off.

"I then started talking calmly to him as he came back and reached in at us with his trunk, and then his ears came down and he backed off and stood there looking at us," said Anthony.

He said a herd of elephants arrived and mulled around. Eventually the elephant walked off with them.

Anthony managed to fix the radio, which had been smashed and called the rangers who came to fetch them.

"Amazingly, no one was hurt."

Anthony, a South African born in Durban, is the founder of The Earth Organisation.

He is best known for rescuing animals in the Baghdad Zoo during the Coalition forces' invasion.

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