Elephant Kills Trainer in Phang Nga, Runs Off With Stranded Tourists

A file photo shows an elephant reaching for fresh fruit at the elephant banquet after the final of the 12th Annual King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament 2013 in Hua Hin, Thailand, 01 September 2013. An elephant killed his trainer in Phang Nga and ran into the jungle with two tourists still on its back. EPA/NARONG SANGNAK

BANGKOK (DPA) — An elephant killed his trainer in Thailand and ran into the jungle with two tourists still on its back, reports said Monday.

Local television said the bull elephant was on a routine tour in the resort province of Phang Nga, 500 kilometres south of Bangkok, when the accident happened Sunday.

The elephant was in heat and went wild, trampling its mahout to death before running into the jungle with two Russian tourists still on its back.

Officials later found the elephant 3 kilometers away with the two stranded tourists clinging on.

Eventually the tourists were able to climb down after the elephant had been shot with tranquilizer darts.

"Bull elephants in musth are very dangerous and they shouldn't be part of these attractions," said Edwin Wieks, founder of the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand.

Wieks said tourists get on elephants at their own risk as lax enforcement meant that resorts are rarely ever punished for accidents.