Tourist trampled by Indian elephants


A retired schoolteacher from France has been trampled to death by wild elephants in southern India, forest officials say.

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

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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 said.

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

WWF coordinator N Mohanraj 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.