7-year-old girl killed by rock thrown by elephant in Morocco zoo

Witnesses said the elephant threw a large stone into the air after picking it up with its truck, striking the girl on the back of her head.
Witnesses said the elephant threw a large stone into the air after picking it up with its truck, striking the girl on the back of her head.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM JADID247 VIDEO

A seven-year-old girl was killed in a freak accident at a zoo in Morocco when an elephant hurled a rock at her head.

She had been posing with her family for a photograph beside the animal's enclosure in the country's capital of Rabat on Tuesday (July 26).

Witnesses said the elephant threw a large stone into the air after picking it up with its truck, striking the girl on the back of her head.

She was knocked unconscious and died in a nearby hospital from her injuries, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday (July 28).

Mobile phone footage taken by a bystander showed the victim's stunned family gathered around her as zoo personnel tended to her on the ground.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HmHrEW06bg

Witnesses claimed an ambulance took too long to arrive, hitting out at the zoo for not having its own medical station.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the accidental death of a little girl victim of a stone throw launched by an elephant," said the zoo on its Twitter page.

A spokesman for the zoo was quoted as saying that there had been no security breaches, and the girl had not crossed into a protective area outside the enclosure.

"Accidents of this type are rare, unforeseeable and unusual," the spokesman added.

According to local reports, the girl's father had lifted her up on his shoulders to pose for the photograph.

The Rabat-Temara zoo, which opened in 2012, boasts of housing 130 species of animals in simulated mountain, desert and rainforest habitats.