Charging Elephant Kills Elderly American Woman in Zambia

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Kills Elderly American

A tragic incident unfolds in Kafue National Park.

A charging elephant killed an elderly American woman when it flipped over the car she was traveling in at a national park in Zambia.

The Incident:

The “aggressive” creature buffeted the vehicle, carrying six tourists and a guide, and tour operator Wilderness said in a statement on Tuesday. It added that the 80-year-old victim died after Saturday’s incident on a game drive at the Kafue National Park in western Zambia.

Circulating Video:

A video circulating on social media showing the incident shows a large elephant running towards a car, which slows down as it approaches its left side. The elephant then flips the vehicle over, and the passengers can be heard gasping as the car rolls over.

NBC News does not know the condition or identity of the person who filmed the video.

Response and Aftermath:

Photos shared online of the car, which is decorated with the tour operator’s logo, show it tipped onto its side after the incident, with a deep dent in two of its side doors.

Wilderness, which describes itself as a “leading conservation and hospitality company” operating in eight African countries, including Zambia, did not respond to NBC News when asked to confirm the video’s authenticity and photos.

However, the tour operator’s CEO, Keith Vincent, said the company’s “guides are all extremely well trained and experienced.”

“Sadly in this instance the terrain and vegetation was such that the guide’s route became blocked and he could not move the vehicle out of harm’s way quickly enough,” he added.

Victim’s Identity and Injuries:

The company did not name the victim, but her daughter, Rona Wells, identified her as Gail Mattson in a post on Facebook. She said her mother died in a “tragic accident while on her dream adventure.”

NBC News has reached out to the family for further comment.

Another female guest was also injured in the incident and taken to a medical facility in South Africa, the Wilderness statement said, adding that four others were treated for minor injuries.

Conclusion:

The exact cause of Mattson’s death was unclear. Still, the company said her body would be repatriated to her family in the U.S. with the support of local Zambian authorities and the U.S. embassy in the capital, Lusaka.

“This is a tragic event and we extend our deepest condolences to the family of the guest who died,” the statement added.

According to the park’s website, Kafue National Park is Zambia’s largest and oldest national park, covering an area of more than 8,000 square miles. Vast regions of the park remain unexplored, and the website says it is home to a variety of untamed wildlife.

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