CHIANG MAI – A star male elephant (Phlai Ekasitat) at Chiang Mai’s Zoo, that appeared in action movie “Ong Bak” starring Panom “Tony Jaa” Yeeram and other Thai and international films, hit a mahout with its trunk, killing him instantly, on Monday morning (Nov 27), police said.
Eyewitnesses told police that the incident occurred while Somsak Riangngern, 55, the elephant’s handler for over 10 years, was giving him a banana tree in a kraal inside the zoo and trying to walk him to take a bath. The elephant suddenly turned to the mahout and hit him many times with his trunk, killing him in front of his wife, Mrs Jampa.
Zoo officials were later able to keep the elephant under control. It was initially believed the 32-year-old bull elephant went wild because he was is in rut, however the actual cause of the incident has yet to be determined by Zoo veterinarians.
Somsak’s body was sent to Maharat Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital.
Somsak would be taken to his home province of Surin for his funeral.
Mrs Jampa, 50, the mahout’s wife, said Phlai Ekasit was usually a lovable and kind animal that had appeared in several films. He was popular among tourists who like to feed and take pictures with him.
Source: Thai PBS