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Italian tourist gored as trekking elephant goes wild

PHUKET: An Italian tourist was gored after he and his friend were thrown to the ground during an attack by an elephant they were riding during a jungle trek in Phang Nga yesterday (Feb 19).

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By Waranya Prompinpiras

Wednesday 20 February 2019, 02:06PM


Italian tourists Manuel Trofa, 29, and Francesco Di Megu, 31, were injured in the attack, which happened at about 10:30am.

They were riding through a palm oil plantation in Tambon Song Phraek, on Phang Nga’s northern border with Surat Thani province, confirmed Lt Col Boriboon Yusuksomboon of the Thung Kha Ngok Police.

Col Boriboon stressed to The Phuket News that the elephant, 8-year-old bull Thanwa (meaning “December”), from Bangkaew Adventure Tour, was not in musth.

“We are not sure what provoked the elephant to act violently, it was probably just because of the mood of the elephant,” he said.

“And this elephant has never caused harm to humans before,” Col Boriboon added.

The mahout, 26-year-old Kanchanapong Karnvijit, told police that they were riding along when Thanwa began acting unusually, Col Boriboon explained.

“The elephant started trying to shake the people off its back, so Mr Kanjanapong used the hook once, but the elephant shook more until the two tourists and Mr Kanchanapong were thrown off,” he said.

After throwing the tourists and the mahout to the ground, Thanwa turned on them and gored Mr Di Megu in the stomach. The wound saw some of his small intestines spill out, Col Boriboon said.

“Mr Kanchanapong and other mahouts together stopped the elephant from hurting the tourists any more. They called staff from the camp to help take the elephant and tie it up in a safe place,” he added.

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Mr Di Megu was rushed to Phang Nga Hospital, where doctors closed his wound.

“He will be taken to Bangkok Hospital Phuket today (Feb 20), where doctors will determine what further treatment he may need,” Col Boriboon said.

"Mr Trofa suffered injuries to his left leg. At this stage we are not sure if it was broken in the attack,” he added.

Mr Trofa has already been brought to Bangkok Hospital Phuket, Col Boriboon noted.

The mahout, Mr Kanchanapong, suffered no major injuries and did not require hospital treatment, he said.

“At this stage we still do not know whether or not tourists will claim damages, but the tour company has insurance coverage for medical expenses (in such situations),” Col Boriboon said.

“If medical costs exceed the insurance coverage, by law the tour company must be responsible for paying it,” he said.

Police have yet to determine whether Mr Kanchanapong was reckless in his actions during the incident, Col Boriboon also noted.

“If officers find evidence that he was reckless, police will file a charge of negligence causing serious injury to others, "Col Boriboon assured.

 

 

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Kurt | 21 February 2019 - 13:01:18

Well, most tourist don't know that a elephant back is not strong. And they not know that a male elephant is not suitable for this work.  Male elephants are unpredictable during 'must' and hot/dry seasons. Thai government officials know that! Using 'males' for tourists purpose is asking for problems, time after time. But, yes, we know, take the risk, and make money. TIT.

Galong | 20 February 2019 - 19:02:18

Absolutely zero sympathy! Riding elephants is unethical and it supports animal cruelty. I feel sorry for the elephant for having to endure the 'phajaan' (elephant torture ritual) and having heartless tourists ride then day in and day out.

Ronald S | 20 February 2019 - 14:18:12

Nice, the elephant was very right. Never misuse beautiful animals. Stupid bastards who ride an elephant.

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