Elephant death was an accident, says owner

Published Apr 16, 2001


A handler was killed by an elephant cow, which was being used on a film set, in Broederstroom outside Johannesburg on Sunday.

Circus owner Brian Boswell said the elephants had been used as background animals for the filming of Olie, which is being made for video release.

Police spokesperson Captain Garwin Geldenhuys released the man's name as Fiso Mbambo, 23, but Boswell said not all members of his family had been informed yet.

"We had finished filming, but decided not to drive back during the long weekend and were just relaxing. The handlers had just had lunch when the man went to the toilet through the bushes.

"The one cow, who had been grazing nearby, walked over and knocked him over with her trunk - she may have walked over him - and went on grazing.

"However there was no blood, which would be normal if an elephant, which weighs several tons, had stood on him," Boswell said.

"Paramedics were there within 10 minutes and spent 30 minutes trying to resuscitate him, but he died. An autopsy will give us greater details on how he died," he said.

Boswell said the 18-year-old cow had shown no signs of aggression and that this was an accident. She was used to the handler, who had been working with her for three years.

Vicky Brooker, the co-owner of Glen Africa farm where the accident happened, said elephants are boisterous and tend to lean on each other and hit each other with their trunks.

Boswell said no final decision had been taken on the elephant's future, but it was believed she would be used for breeding and kept away from people. - Sapa

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