RAYONG – March 4, 2013 [PDN]; At 5:30 p.m., a report of an elephant killing a Thai female tourist was received by Pol. Lt. Capt. Thawatch Norsingha, Muangrayong police station, Rayong.
Rescuers from Sawangpornkusol foundation Rayong reported that a 2-year-old elephant went insane and used its tusk to gore a Thai tourist on Maerampung beach. The victim was severely injured and died in Rayong hospital.
Police officers arriving at the scene found the elephant, named Plai Boonchoo, 2 years old, was being chained on his front legs in Khaosap temple, Pae, Muang. The elephant was acting insane, whining loudly all the time and shocking tourists, who quickly fled because they were afraid the elephant would kill more people.
Officers went to the hospital emergency room to check on the victim, and discovered she had died from her injuries. Her collarbones were broken, and her lungs had been pierced, with blood shed inside her rib cage area. The victim was identified as Mrs. Sairung Kraja, 56 years old. Standing sadly near her body was her husband, Mr. Helmut Schoeler , 63 years old, nationality German.
Mr. Helmut told police that he and his wife were staying at the Rayong beach hotel on Maerampueng beach. He brought his wife to the beach, and they saw the mahout who came along with the elephant to beg for food, and was selling the sugar cane to feed the animal.
His wife who was always generous, went to the elephant. She was taking money from her purse to pay for the sugar cane to feed him. But the elephant stabbed her with its tusk, and she fell to the ground. The elephant then used its trunk to lift her up, and stabbed her several times with its tusk, in front of many horrified tourists.
Police questioned the mahout, identified as Mr. Thongjan Malignam, 26 years old, living in Krapo, Tatoom, Surin. He told police that he brought Plaiboonchoo to Maerampueng beach nearly every day to wander to sell sugar cane to Thai and foreign tourists.
Mr. Thongjan said this had never happened before with Plaiboonchoo, who was always cute and kind, and never hurt anyone. But today was too hot, and the elephant got annoyed and acted untamed, and he did not play with tourists like before.
Police also questioned the elephant’s owner, identified as Mr. Santawee Boonklao, 27 years old. He said the elephant was always sweet, and had never acted violently. He brought the big beast to the beach to wander to beg for food every day, and it was always fine.
Pol. Lt. Capt. Thawatch Norsingha said both Mr. Thongjan and Mr. Santawee will be prosecuted on charges of bringing an elephant to wander in public and causing someone’s death.