French tourist trampled to death in India by elephants

16th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

A retired schoolteacher from France was trampled to death by wild elephants in southern India, forest officials said.

Chenna - A retired schoolteacher from France was trampled to death by wild elephants in southern India, forest officials said.

The woman, 66, and her son, 39, a computer engineer, were walking in the Ooty hill ranges Friday in Tamil Nadu state when the accident occurred.

The pair, accompanied on their trek by two local guides, came across a herd of wild elephants grazing and moved closer to take photographs when an elephant and her calf apparently charged them, officials said.

The pair ran in panic but could not escape, the officials said.

The woman died en route to hospital while her son suffered leg injuries, according to the officials.

Their identities could not immediately be confirmed and French embassy officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

"Local officers are investigating the incident," district forest officer K. Soundarapandian told AFP.

The pair were staying at a jungle resort known as Bokkapuram adjoining the well-known Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Udhagamandalam, some 500 kilometers (300 miles) from Chennai.

N. Mohanraj, coordinator of the World Wide Fund for Nature, called the accident an "avoidable tragedy."

He told the Hindu newspaper that there was a need to regulate tourism in wildlife areas and that elephant corridors should be left alone by tourists.

AFP / Expatica

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