• Kyodo


An animal handler died Sunday after being hit by the trunk of an elephant at an amusement facility complex in Wakayama Prefecture, police said.

Wichai Madee, from Thailand, and another handler were washing the animal in a cage at Adventure World in the resort town of Shirahama when the elephant began thrashing its trunk back and forth, authorities said.

The 37-year-old handler, standing in front of the 3.5-ton elephant with a brush in his hand, was flung against an iron fence nearby. The elephant then pushed him around with its trunk.

The elephant is a 40-year-old female and apparently did not want the handlers’ attention at the time the incident occurred around 9:15 a.m., before the facility opened, the police said.

The Thai man was taken to a hospital immediately after the incident and pronounced dead an hour later, they said.

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