British Tourist Killed By Elephant While On Vacation in Koh Samui, Thailand
36-year-old Gareth Crowe, from Scotland, was on holiday with his family on Koh Samui when the animal turned on its handler

British Tourist Killed By Elephant While On Vacation in Koh Samui, Thailand

A British tourist has been killed after he was thrown from an elephant during a trek in Thailand.

Gareth Crowe, 36, was taking part in a trek on the island of Koh Samui when the animal turned on its handler, according to local reports. He was on holiday in Thailand with his family.

A 16-year-old girl, the daughter of Crowe’s partner, was injured after she also fell to the ground.

Witnesses said the elephant – known as Golf – grew angry after its handler climbed down to take photographs, refusing to follow his instructions. The handler is said to have hit the elephant several times, which then stabbed him with a tusk before rising up and throwing the tourists off.

 Elephant trekking on Koh Samui. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock
Elephant trekking on Koh Samui. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

Crowe’s partner, Catherine Hughes, 42, spoke on Monday from the hospital where her daughter, named as Eilidh Hughes, was recovering.

 She said: “We were all here on holiday. My son and I didn’t go on the elephants. I’ve been given no information as to what happened or how it happened. Eilidh is OK but I don’t know exactly what happened.”The teenager was first treated at Samui International hospital before she was moved to the island’s Bangkok International hospital. Her family are believed to have originally been from the Isle of Islay off Scotland’s Argyll coast, but moved to the Scottish mainland two years ago.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are offering support to the family of a British national who has sadly died following an incident in Koh Samui, Thailand, and are making contact with the local authorities to seek further information.”

The local Thai provincial governor, Wongsiri Phromchana, said that an investigation was being launched into the incident, adding that there were at least five elephant camps on Koh Samui providing treks and activities for tourists.

Animal charities have been calling on tourists to think carefully before they take part in wild animal experiences. World Animal Protection said thoughts were with the family of the man who died but added that the incident was a “stark reminder” that elephants are not meant to be ridden.

A spokeswoman said: “Elephants are cruelly abused to tame them enough so they give rides and perform in shows.

“Most tourists don’t know about these abuses, or the potential danger they put themselves in. If you can ride it, hug it or have a selfie with a wild animal, then the chances are it is cruel and the animal is suffering.”

Last year, tour operator Intrepid Travel announced it would no longer offer elephant rides on any of its trips. STA Travel, which provides holidays for 2.5 million students and young people each year, last year also stopped offering tours that include elephant rides or trips to the Tiger Temple in Thailand.

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