Redding man survives elephant attack during safari in Africa

REDDING, Calif. - Tom Stovall is back home in Redding after surviving an elephant attack while on safari in Africa.   Stovall captured the attack on video which shows the elephant battering the open SUV with his head.

As a retired veterinarian, Stovall thought he'd seen a lot in the animal world.  But what happened to him June 8 in Zimbabwe was a first for Stovall.

He was touring the Hwange National Park, when his group came upon an elephant that appeared to be ostracized from his herd.  The group of 7 was traveling in a open-sided vehicle.  The elephant, estimated to be 20 to 30 years old, appeared angry and apparently wanted to take out his frustration on the passing tour group.

Stovall said the elephant gave the group a long look and started to walk away.  Once the animal got 100 yards away, the elephant turned around and made a direct line for the vehicle.

The engine was turned off so they wouldn't spook the animals.  Without the engine running, they were sitting ducks.  The elephant battered the vehicle with his head.  

"He hit the car the first time and drove a 2 foot hole in the door, his tusk went right over the lady who now was laying down in the front seat," said Stovall.  "He then backed off and the car from the front, driving us back 15 yards sliding.  Crumpled the engine. Buckled the hood.  Then he hit us again, tore the top of the car, the entire roof was gone.  He then trumpeted and left." Fortunately no one was injured.

Stovall said the incident happened on the last day of his trip to Africa.  He may never go back.

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