Safari instructors and trainees at a South African wildlife reserve are fortunate to be alive and uninjured after a harrowing run-in with a bull elephant that nearly flipped their vehicle.
The accompanying footage, captured Sunday at Selati Game Reserve, shows a bull elephant bluff-charging the safari truck, then partially lifting and turning the vehicle, spilling at least one occupant.
An instructor repeatedly yells, “Get out!” The other occupants quickly exit and scamper toward safer ground as the elephant pauses as if it has issued a sufficient warning.
The footage was being widely shared and on Monday the company involved in the incident, EcoTraining, issued a news release describing what happened:
“On a routine activity, the EcoTraining instructors and trainees came across a breeding herd of elephants. The vehicle stopped to observe the elephants and give them a chance to settle down. An elephant bull, who was with the breeding herd, mock-charged the vehicle.
“The elephant bull mock-charged again, when they moved forward slowly, and then made contact with the vehicle and displaced it off the road. Once the vehicle had come to a standstill, the trainees were moved to the second vehicle that was parked in close proximity.”
EcoTraining quoted Bryan Havemann, general manager of Selati Game Reserve, as saying the vehicle had been damaged but “none of the people on the vehicle were injured.”
EcoTraining added that bull elephants in musth during their breeding season “experience high levels of testosterone and may display aggressive behavior.”