Sarah Brooks, 30, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, was gored through the back of her thigh by the animal after it used its tusks to flip over her car.
A British teacher was seriously injured when an elephant charged at her car and flipped it over in South Africa.
Sarah Brooks, 30, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, was gored through the back of her thigh by the animal’s tusks during a visit to the Kruger National Park.
She was travelling in a small Volkswagen hatchback with her fiancé Jans De Klerk. The couple, in the country to celebrate their engagement, were filming the elephant from behind when it turned and charged at their vehicle on December 30.
The attack was caught on camera by fellow tourists. The footage shows the elephant walking in front of the car before tuning to face it, walking round to the side and then using its tusks to flip it over and push it 40 metres off the road.
On the film, the tourists in the car behind can be heard urging them to reverse.
“Stop the car … reverse, reverse, they’re going to die,” one man says.
Miss Brooks, a teacher at Sir John Gleed School in Spalding, was taken to the Medi-Clinic hospital in Mbombela where she underwent surgery before before being discharged on Monday.
It is understood that the couple will now stay in the country for at least another three weeks while Miss Brooks recovers.
Mr De Klerk, a South African national who now lives in Spadling where he works as a barman, was uninjured. The elephant was later destroyed.
William Mabassa, general manager at the National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Africa, said the elephant was in Musth, a periodic condition in males that makes them aggressive when their testosterone levels rise by up to 60 times.
“As they were driving behind the elephant, probably also taking a video of the elephant in front of them, the elephant apparently decided to turn around,” he said.
“Unfortunately they switched off the engine – because if you minimise noise an elephant would not attack you – (but) unfortunately the elephant attacked.”
Jans de Klerk and Sarah Brooks
Mr Mabassa defended the decision to destroy the animal.
“Our rangers reported that the same elephant bull had been involved in previous fights with other dominant bulls since it has been in musth phase,” he said.
However he added that the couple did have chance to escape.
Asked about suggestions that the couple should have done more to get away, he said: “There was an opportunity for them to escape. He gave them lots of warning signs. If you look at the footage, when the elephant turned to face them, he didn’t rush and moved almost past the car to the left hand side.
“They could have moved forward at that point, but we don’t know what it’s like to be under such stress and how we would behave. Instinct takes over and maybe the instinct was to stay quiet and still.”
He said the message to other Kruger visitors was to keep a safe distance. “It’s a big animal – there’s no need to get close,” he said.
Neighbours said the couple had travelled to South Africa so that Miss Brooks could meet Mr De Klerk’s family following their recent engagement.
Will Scott, headteacher at the Sir John Gleed School, said: “We are all shocked by what has happened to Sarah and we wish her a full and speedy recovery.”
The attack was believed to be the third by an elephant at the Kruger Park last year.
Another of the animals was shot dead earlier in December when it charged at traffic officers. It had apparently ignored warning shots.
Two tourists were also injured when their vehicle was overturned by an elephant in April.