Elephant handler killed in Hartbeespoort

2013-04-16 08:38

Johannesburg - A handler at the Elephant Sanctuary, near Hartbeespoort Dam, has been crushed and trampled to death by two elephants, it was reported on Tuesday.

Spokesman Craig Saunders told Beeld the animals were busy with their daily exercise programme in a training camp at the time of the accident on Monday morning.

"There were no visitors. The handler was very experienced -- he had worked exclusively with African elephants for four years," Saunders said.

"They were doing their usual morning exercise. The handler was on the elephant's back," Saunders said.

He said the handler fell and landed between a bull and a cow which were playing.

The elephants carried on playing and walking, not realising they were trampling their handler.

Saunders told the newspaper paramedics were on the scene within minutes, but could not save him.

He said the sanctuary was closed for the day, and police arranged counselling for employees.

According to Beeld, Captain Melody Pieterse wrote on the Facebook page of a Hartbeespoort crime forum that the two animals were on either side of a fence when they began wrestling.

"At no stage did they attack the elephant handler," she said.

Beeld reported that the handler's name had not been released because his family had yet to be informed.

Read more on:    travel south africa

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