May 30, 2024

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A charging elephant kills an elderly American woman during a safari tour

shipping elephant An American woman was killed when the car she was traveling in overturned in a national park Zambia.

Wilderness Tourism said in a statement on Tuesday that the “aggressive” creature rammed the car carrying six tourists and a tour guide. She added that the 80-year-old victim died after the accident that occurred on Saturday during a car trip in Kafue National Park In western Zambia.

A video clip circulated on social media appears to show the incident, showing a large elephant running towards a car, which slows down as the animal approaches from its left side. The elephant then overturns the car and the passengers can be heard gasping as the car overturns.

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

Pictures shared online of the car, which bears the tourism company's logo, show that it turned on its side after the accident, with deep dents 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 authenticity of the video and photos.

But the tour company's CEO, Keith Vincent, said in the statement that the company's “guides are all well-trained and very experienced.”

“Unfortunately in this case, the terrain and vegetation were so severe that the guide's path became blocked and he was unable to move the vehicle out of harm's way quickly enough,” he added.

Gail Mattson, on safari in Zambia (Rona Wells via Facebook)

Gail Mattson, on safari in Zambia (Rona Wells via Facebook)

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

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

“It's very rare to see an angry elephant,” Marlon du Toit, a wildlife photographer and safari guide, told “TODAY” on Thursday. “Across Africa, there are thousands and thousands of guests who take safaris on a daily basis with no negative consequences.”

Another woman was also injured in the accident and was transported to a medical facility in South Africa, the Wilderness statement said, adding that four others were treated for minor injuries.

The exact cause of Mattson's death was not clear, but the company said that her body would be returned to her family in the United States with the support of local Zambian authorities and the American embassy in the capital, Lusaka.

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

Kafue National Park is Zambia's largest and oldest national park, according to its website, spanning over 8,000 square miles. Large areas of the park remain unexplored, and the website says it is home to a variety of untamed wildlife.