A 10-year-old boy was killed when a bull elephant struck him off of his motorbike and threw him against a tree with its trunk. The incident happened on Saturday in Lbaing II commune, Lumphat district, Ratanakkiri Province.
Commune police chief Say Khily told The Post on Sunday that the victim, Heak Chivak, lived in the commune and was from the Prov ethnic minority.
He said Chivak was riding a motorbike behind his 31-year-old uncle Bunroeung Plal, a mahout, who was riding the bull elephant to Sruoch Mountain to graze.
Plal said the elephant suddenly turned around and used its trunk to hit the boy, throwing him off the motorbike.
After he fell, the elephant used its trunk again to lift and swing the boy against a tree causing fatal injuries that culminated in his death.
The boy was then taken to the Ratanakkiri provincial hospital but died 10 minutes after arrival.
“When the incident happened, I was still on the back of the elephant. I tried to stab it with an axe at first. Then it broke so I pulled out an iron to stab it further. I came down from its back and ran to see my nephew. I took him straight to Ratanakkiri hospital,” Plal said.
Chivak’s grandfather, Chroeuy Bunroeung, the mahout team leader at Airavata Elephant Foundation told The Post that the bull elephant is 32 years old.
Called Buok Mai, is known to be gentle and had never threatened any mahouts or villagers.
“Mai was a nice and obedient elephant. However, it appears he has shown his true colours and killed my grandson,” said Bunroeung.
Airavata Elephant Foundation manager Choun Samey said Mai has since been tied under a tree at the Airata Elephant Protection and Conservation area and is being taken care of by staff.
“The incident is terribly regretful. However, we will not allow family members of the victim to take revenge against Buok Mai as it is a local elephant and an endangered species,” she said.
Mai was originally from Sre Ampoum commune, in Pech Chreada district, Mondulkiri province, where it killed its 45-year-old owner Mob Sreng in September 2016.
It took a team of elephant experts three days to find and detain it. The elephant was captured because of fears it would attack other citizens and tourists.