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Jumbo kills mahout, runs off with tourists

Aug 26. 2015
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By The Nation

An elephant in a rut killed its mahout yesterday before fleeing with a Chinese family of three on its back. After three hours of staying in a wooded area of Chiang Mai's Mae Wang district, the elephant was located and the tourists were rescued.

Mahout Surachai Daenphumphak, 24, was killed by the elephant at 9am along the riverside near the Phu Tawan Elephant Camp in Tambon Mae Win.

Police and rescue workers found the elephant, 30-year-old Plai Somjai, a kilometre from the scene with the three tourists still on its back. They cleared the area to make way for an expert with a tranquiliser gun to subdue the elephant.

At around noon, another mahout was brought in to calm the elephant down and remove the tourists off its back. The three were taken to Mae Wang Hospital and treated for exhaustion.

Witnesses said Plai Somjai became agitated when it spotted a mahout who had hurt it. It shook violently, causing Surachai to fall, and ran towards the other mahout, stomping on Surachai and fatally stabbing him with its tusk in the process. The three tourists were perched on its back for the duration.


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