British tourist trampled by elephant in Koh Samui

BANGKOK • A British tourist has been trampled to death by an elephant on the Thai tourist island of Koh Samui, the latest deadly attack by animals used to entertain holidaymakers.

The man, identified by police as Mr Gareth Crowe, 36, was riding on the animal's back with his daughter on Monday afternoon when it suddenly threw them off, police said yesterday.

"We suspect that the hot weather made the elephant angry and that he was not accustomed to his mahout," said Mr Paiboon Omark, Samui district chief.

A mahout is the person who trains, controls and rides an elephant, usually after years of building close bonds with the animal.

Mr Paiboon said Mr Crowe had a prosthetic leg and was unable to run away from the marauding pachyderm. His daughter and the mahout, a Myanmar national, were both injured but escaped and were out of danger, he added.

The elephant, named Golf, was tranquillised and brought under control, he said.

A spokesman for the British embassy said it was aware of the incident and was providing assistance to the victim's family.

Thailand has an estimated 4,000 domesticated elephants, many working in the tourism trade, alongside some 2,500 wild elephants.

Thailand's use of animals for tourism is under increased scrutiny following a string of scandals and investigations by rights groups.

Conservationists are meeting Thai government officials today to lobby for better animal welfare standards across the tourism trade.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2016, with the headline 'British tourist trampled by elephant in Koh Samui'. Print Edition | Subscribe