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from The Electronic Telegraph, London
|Briton trampled by wild elephant as he saves wife
By Peter Foster
Monday, October 5 1999
|A BRITISH amateur wildlife photographer
was seriously ill last night after being trampled by a charging elephant
as he tried to save his wife and friends.
Steven Street, 32, from Middlesbrough, was on safari in Botswana with his wife, Margaret, when the mature bull elephant charged from behind some trees. It struck one member of the party with its leg as Mr Street waved and screamed to try to divert it from his wife and the other tourists.
The elephant knocked him down and then collapsed on top of him as a guide shot it. Mr Street, an oil rig worker and lay preacher, suffered broken legs, fractured ribs and internal injuries. He waited five hours for treatment after a storm delayed a rescue plane from taking off from an airfield 100 miles away.
Last night his wife and other members of his family were at his bedside in the Botswana capital of Gaborone. His condition was said to have improved slightly.
Mr Street was on a two-week holiday to photograph big game when the accident happened on Sept 25. A family friend, the Rev Alan Leighton of St George's Church, Middlesbrough, said: "We are praying that Steven makes a full recovery. It was an incredibly courageous and selfless act. The elephant rumbled over the first man, knocking him with its leg and by the time it got to Steven it was in full charge."
Mr Leighton said that, although Mr Street's condition had improved fractionally, his life was still in danger. He said: "Up until last weekend the doctors were not giving him much chance of survival, but there is now more hope. Everyone is praying that he can pull through. Steven is such a lovely man, a real church leader."
Neighbours of the Streets said the couple had planned their holiday after a similar expedition to Kenya a few years ago. Mrs Street, 32, is also passionate about animals. She gave up midwifery to work as a wildlife officer with the Durham Wildlife Trust.
One neighbour said: "It has come as a shock to the neighbourhood that Steven has been so badly injured. What he did was extremely brave, but it must be devastating for Margaret. Steven likes to get close to nature and this was the couple's ideal holiday."