Tourist Trampled to Death by Elephants in South Africa After Approaching for Photos

A Spanish tourist has reportedly been “trampled to death” by elephants after he attempted to get close to them for photographs.

The fatal incident involving the 43-year-old man occurred on Sunday at the Pilanesberg National Park near Johannesburg, officials told the AFP. 

“Reports suggest that the man stopped his vehicle…  and went to take pictures,” police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone told the news agency, with authorities adding that the tourist was in the company of his fiancée. 

The North West Parks and Tourism Board (NWPTB) told the AFP that a female elephant then charged at the man and “he was unfortunately unable to escape or evade the elephant, which was now joined by the whole herd, and was caught and trampled to death.” 

 

“The elephants moved away immediately from the scene without any aggression toward the nearby vehicles and eventually disappeared into the bushes,” the agency added. 

NWPTB Chief Conservation Officer Pieter Nel said the female elephant became “agitated” by seeing the man approaching the herd and that it’s normal for them to try to “defend the young ones.” 

 

“Many tourists are oblivious to the dangers and do not realize how dangerous elephants can be,” Nel said to the AFP. 

The tourist’s fiancée and two other women that were traveling in his vehicle reportedly were unharmed. 

Officials at Pilanesberg National Park recommend visitors driving through the area keep their windows closed and not leave their vehicles, according to the AFP.