Getting up close and personal to some of nature’s most f.e.a.rsome beasts is the main attraction of a safari holiday.
Unfortunately for two British tourists, one elephant took his brief a little too seriously.
The newly engaged couple’s car was rammed, skewered and tossed upside down by the bull elephant, which l.a..sh.ed out after also trying to a.t.ta.ck the car in front.
Ra.mpage: The huge bull elephant emerges from the bushes and rambles onto the dirt road towards the small Chevrolet Aveo car in South Africa’s Kruger National Park
Might of way: The Chevrolet Aveo is now in touching distance of the charging elephant
Trunk road: The huge elephant wanders out onto the road moments before it thrusts its tusks into the little car
Amazingly the couple, who was named locally as Chris Hare and Helen Jennings, both 40, escaped the incident at South Africa’s Kruger National Park with just minor injuries.
Mr Hare said: ‘When I came around the bend, the big guy was right in front of us. He walked towards us and I pulled off the road.
‘The elephant appeared to walk past the car but then turned back, pushing a tusk against the passenger door and rolling the car. It was te.rrifying and I just thought: “But it can’t be possible that this is happening”.’
Look out behind: The angry jumbo charges up behind the Chevrolet Aveo and lifts its rear into the air with its tusks
Calm before the storm: The elephant momentarily backs away from the vehicle
Vasti Fourie, who was travelling in a convoy through the park when she witnessed the att.ack on the hatchback, said: ‘It charged towards the side of the car, lifted it up with its tusk, dropped it on its roof and calmly walked away.
‘It all happened so quickly. Once we drove around the corner, the driver of the flipped car was kn.eeled down in sh.ock.
‘I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life and I’m sure they haven’t either.’ Mr Hare and Miss Jennings, from Stockton-on-Tees, are understood to have been spending three days on holiday at the national park before flying on to the city of Durban.
Rangers later said they found blo.od on the car of the British couple and thought that the elephant might have had a tooth abscess.
Aftermath: The occupants of the upturned Hyundai Atos were named as British tourists Chris Hare, 40, and fiancee Helen Jennings, also 40
Dam.age: The rag.ing bull elephant thrust its tusk through the passenger door before flipping the Hyundai Atos onto its side
The elephant certainly left its mark on the small Hyundai Atos belonging to two British tourists
It is now being tracked to see if it needs treatment. South Africa National Parks spokesman Reynold Thakhuli warned tourists to take extra care around wild animals and allow nothing to protrude from their cars.
He said: ‘When you see an animal approaching do not panic and try to move away as fast as you can.
‘Elephants can be very dan.ger.ous when they feel thre.at.ened.’
The British couple chat to fellow tourists after their ha.rro.wing ordeal
Park wardens flip the small Hyundai back onto its wheels
Just a scrape: The Hyundai is hoisted back on the road after its encounter with the jumbo
Additional park wardens arrive at the scene by helicopter after the incident in Kruger National Park, South Africa