Tourist injured as jumbo tramples car - PIC
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Johannesburg - A tourist was seriously injured on Monday when the car he was driving was overturned by an elephant in the Kruger National Park.
A doctor and paramedics backed by a helicopter rushed to the scene on the H1-7 tar road between Shingwedzi and Punda Maria in the northern half of the park at about 6.30am on Monday, SANParks said.
The man, 49, who had been travelling with a woman passenger, was taken to Clinix Phalaborwa Private Hospital for treatment for broken ribs and internal bleeding.
“We were told by the woman that when they saw the elephant charging, they stopped their car and switched off the engine. Apparently they had been told that when one switches off the engine – an animal stops charging. But the elephant didn’t, it went on and trampled the car,” the park’s head of communications and marketing, William Mabasa, said.
Fortunately for the couple, as the elephant was trampling the car, they were thrown out through the windows. Had they not been out of the car, the incident could most likely have been fatal, Mabasa added.
The man, who is Polish and works in China was still in hospital, Kruger National Park public relations official Laura Mukwevho confirmed on Monday afternoon.
The woman – whose age hasn’t been confirmed – had complained of backache and doctors were still waiting for X-ray results.
The pair had spent the previous night at Punda Maria camp and had been scheduled to stay at Mopani rest camp, south of Shingwedzi on Monday night.
Park staff had not taken any action against any elephants as they did not know which animal was involved.
Mabasa said it was not yet clear why the elephant had become aggressive. He appealed to the public to always look out for elephants and “try not to get too close whenever they see one approaching on the road”.