By Anan Khongcharoen
Residents of Tambon Padeng in Kaeng Krachan district were horrified to learn that Master Sergeant Supachat Khaengraeng, a 34-year-old member of the Thappraya Sua Task Force, had died from injuries inflicted by an elephant.
The Kanchanaburi native was run over while he and his team and local volunteers and park officials were driving off a herd of elephants in Ban Pa Deng (Moo 3).
Supachat was rushed to Kaeng Krachan Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The herd was back in the same village later on Monday, circling the scene of the attack for 30 minutes before returning to the forest.
Resident Pongpanich Thaicharoen, who witnessed the tragedy, believed that Supachat had been attacked because the herd was being confronted on two sides.
He and his neighbours did not know that officials just across the provincial border in Prachuap Khiri Khan were using firecrackers to drive the same herd off farmland and into the woods.
Caught in the middle, the elephants panicked and stampeded, and Supachat was crushed in the chaos, Pongpanich said.
He offered condolences to the officer’s family on behalf of the tambon’s residents.