Chinese tour guide trampled to death by rampaging elephant in Thailand
Guide died saving member of his tour party from angry elephant
A Chinese tour guide has been killed by a rampaging elephant that attacked a group of tourists in Thailand.
He Yongjie, 35, tried to pull away a tourist who was being attacked by an elephant but was kicked away and trampled to death at the Sam Liam Thong Kham elephant camp near Pattaya on Thursday.
Local police said that the 17-year-old elephant named Plai Uthen attacked after being prodded by its mahout and had also been surrounded by He’s tour group who were taking photos, PearVideo reported.
However, the Bangkok Post reported that one of the tourists had pulled the elephant’s tail which angered the animal.
A number of Chinese witnesses later denied in interviews with state media that this had happened.
A man who was riding on the animal at the time told cqnews.net that He, who worked for a Chongqing tour agency, was trying to save a tourist from his group when he was kicked into a nearby ditch and trampled on by the elephant.
The man, a member of another tour group from Shanghai, said he and his wife had just climbed onto its back when the elephant stopped walking.
Its mahout tried to get it to move, first by pulling on its chain and then pricking its head with an ankus.
The elephant responded by charging towards a tourist coach, throwing the man’s wife off its back, before attacking the tourists that had surrounded it.
The man, who managed to remain seated on its back, saw He pulling a tourist out of the way only to be thrown into the ditch and trampled on.
The Shanghai man and his wife were slightly injured and have returned home. One tourist from He’s party was seriously injured in the incident and was being treated in a Thai hospital.
He’s family and representatives from his company are staying in Pattaya while police investigate the incident.
The elephant park has offered He’s family 200,000 yuan (US$30,500) in compensation but the family has yet to accept the offer.
The Bangkok Post said that Prasert Thawee-apiradeeboonsueb, owner of the elephant camp, and Au Bamrung, the mahout, had been charged with recklessness causing death and injury on Friday.