CHON BURI – A tour guide has been trampled to death by an enraged elephant after a group of Chinese tourists surrounded the male bull elephant and one of them pulled its tail.
Chinese group leader Yongjie He, 35, had taken about 30 Chinese holidaymakers to the Golden Triangle elephant park in Chonburi, Thailand, yesterday afternoon.
As they arrived, two other women were just returning from an elephant ride and were still on top of the Elephant.
Witnesses said that ten of the excited Chinese tourists then surged forward, surrounding 17-year-old male elephant Pai Utain in a bid to take pictures with him while the women sat on top.
Several mahouts ran over to get Pai under control and the other woman down that was still sitting on top of the bull elephant.
Mahout Au Yungung, 37, said the elephant was eventually brought under control and tethered to a tree but was ‘still shaking with fright’.
He said ‘The elephant was taking tourists back to the main area. Suddenly the tourists gathered round the elephant.
‘One of them pulled the tail and the elephant began attacking people. I tried to control the elephant but could not save the leader of the group.
‘The cause is that the elephants are likely to have been irritated by having the tail pulled. It did not have a seizure. I’ve known this elephant since he was small and he has never hurt anyone, he has always had good habits.’
Lieutenant Colonel Anan Lahuong, said they were investigating the whole event and that the dead tour guide would also been sent for a forensic examination and the relatives have been informed.