Exploited elephant gores bystanders, killing 1

ABOVE: Mahout Wittawat Uanduangdee soothes Mongkol the elephant after he attacked two men in Rayong on Monday. Photo: Thai PBS

A 28-year-old man died yesterday and another remains hospitalized after an elephant dragged around to amuse tourists attacked them at a Rayong beach eatery late Monday night.

Mongkol, a 5-year-old bull, drove a tusk twice into the chest of Weeranat Yoodee, 28, and then his right ribcage before kicking Thongpoon Raksatrakul, 31, in the belly.

Weeranat died yesterday afternoon while Thongpoon remains at the Bangkok Rayong Hospital. Both men worked for True Coffee in Bangkok but had been called out to help out at a new branch in Rayong province.

The two men were eating at the time when Mahout Wittawat Uanduangdee, 21, approached to ask them to buy food for his elephant. They declined.

Mongkol then charged and attacked the pair. Wittawat insisted Mongkol was not in “musth,” a seasonal condition of high hormones and aggressive behavior. He claimed the pachyderm must have been panicked by loud music and disco lighting from a passing car.

He said Mongkol realized what he was doing and stopped his attack.

Wittawat said he brought Mongkol and another 4-year-old elephant from his hometown of Buriram to walk around to get money from tourists to feed them.

The mahout was charged with illegally transporting the elephants, as well as abusing and neglecting them. The elephants were taken into protective custody, Komchadleuk and Naewna reported.

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