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Fleeing British driver attacked by a gang of emus

File picture: Sam Panthaky AFP

File picture: Sam Panthaky AFP

Published Aug 2, 2022

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A British driver who fled the scene of a crash was attacked by a group of emus after climbing into their field.

The BBC reported last week that a bakkie ploughed into a shop in the centre of Malmesbury, in Wiltshire, a small town south of England, at lunchtime on Monday.

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Dean Wade, a chef at a local eatery, told the BBC that he chased two people who left the truck and tried to escape on foot.

Wade said he then saw the driver being attacked by a group of emus after he climbed into their field.

Wiltshire police said the driver of the pick-up truck had been arrested on suspicion of failing to stop, dangerous driving and causing actual bodily harm.

Both the driver and passenger were arrested, and the driver remained in police custody while the passenger was released. The impact of the vehicle destroyed the front of the shop, but fortunately, the building was empty.

Wade, executive chef at the nearby Old Bell Hotel, said: “There was this massive screeching and we saw a car careering left, right and centre and then it smashed into a building. It was horrible.”

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Wade went over to help but said the two occupants ran off.

“I thought it wasn’t fair that people could just walk away from that kind of incident, so I decided to follow them,” added Wade.

Wade said the chase carried on across the town for 15 minutes.

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The chase came to an end, Wade said, at the border of the Malmesbury Animal Sanctuary, where a range of exotic animals is cared for.

“One of them went into the field and tried to be a bit aggressive towards the emus,” he said.

“The emus were curious and they started pecking away at him, which he didn’t take to. Then he ran off. About 20 minutes later the police helicopter was out, and they picked him up.”

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The sanctuary declined to be interviewed but confirmed all its emus were unharmed and said they are “wonderful creatures”.

Animal Corner explains that emus are large, tough, flightless birds found in many parts of Australia and New Guinea and is Australia’s largest bird, the only member of the Dromaius family.

It is the second-largest bird in the world, the largest being the similar-looking ostrich. Although emus resemble ostriches, emus have a longer, lower profile and three toes on each foot, while ostriches have only two toes on each foot. The closest relative to the emu is a cassowary, another flightless bird.

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