Spanish Tourist Crushed to Death by Elephant Herd After He Stepped Out of Vehicle to Take Close-Up Photos at African Game Reserve

Elephant Pexels/Harvey Sapir

In a tragic incident that took place at a South African game reserve, a tourist was crushed to death in front of his screaming fiancée by an angry herd of elephantsafter he got out of his car to take photographs of the wild animals.

The victim, and three others, were driving around the Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa - close to the world-famous tourist resort Sun City - when they spotted a breeding herd with three young by a lake, as reported by the Daily Express.

Tourist was Charged at, Chased Down by Herd Before Being Trampled to Death

Despite warnings from his three fellow passengers to get back into the car the tourist, aged 43, said he wanted to get close-ups of the six elephants and got out and walked towards them. A huge 3.5 ton adult female cow protecting the young members of the herd was spooked and charged at the man and she was joined by the other two adult bulls who also attacked.

The screaming tourist, who was from Spain, was racing back with his camera to safety through the bush to his friends in the car but was overtaken by the chasing herd who knocked him down and trampled him to death.

All that witnesses said was left was left after the 30 second attack was the tattered blood-soaked clothing of the tourist and the remnants of what was the tourist's lifeless body. It is understood the dead man was on holiday from Spain with his fiancée and was with two of her South African friends from Johannesburg when the tragedy happened on Sunday morning.

A North-West Parks & Tourism Board spokesman said: "The elephants moved away immediately from the scene without any aggression towards the nearby vehicles and disappeared in the bushes. The guest was a male Spanish citizen who had entered at Bakgatia Gate with three friends and not far from the gate had come across a breeding herd of elephants feeding a distance from the road.

"According to eye witnesses the man decided to alight from the vehicle and approach the elephants on foot taking pictures. Despite warnings from his fellow passengers and occupants from two other vehicles that were at the sighting he unfortunately did not heed the warnings.

Elephants are Extremely Protective Towards Their Young

According to the Tsavo Trust, elephants are highly protective of their young and their herd. If they feel that their calves or group members are in danger, they may become defensive and aggressive towards perceived threats, including humans. This can happen if humans come too close to their calves, surprise them, or enter their territory.

In April this year, an American tourist was killed after a 5-ton bull elephant charged at a safari vehicle in Zambia and flipped the vehicle over during a photography tour, as previously reported.