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from the Electronic Telegraph, London

    Briton gored to death by elephant
By Alex Spillius, South East Asia Correspondent, and Nigel Bunyan

April 26, 2001

A BRITISH woman was killed and her sister and father seriously wounded when they were attacked by a performing elephant in Thailand.

Andrea Taylor, 20, who was sitting with her family in the front row at the show, was gored repeatedly in the stomach by the bull elephant's tusks. Miss Taylor's sister, Helen, 23, suffered serious abdominal injuries and their father, Geoffrey, had surgery for leg wounds. Mr Taylor, 51, learned of his daughter's death after his operation at the Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital. His surviving daughter, who is in intensive care, has yet to be told for fear that it slows her recovery.

Witnesses to the attack at Nong Nooch, near the resort of Pattaya, claimed the dead woman had been teasing the elephant with a banana moments before it lunged over a ledge towards her. Sethaphan Buddhani, a director of the Tourist Authority of Thailand, said the elephant's keeper had claimed Miss Taylor tried to feed the elephant with a banana, then teased him by twice pulling back her hand.


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Part of the attack was captured on an amateur video and later broadcast on Thai television. Miss Taylor, a trainee nurse from Billinge, Greater Manchester, died from blood loss despite being driven to a hospital 15 minutes away. Dr Pichit Kangwolkij, director of the Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital, said Miss Taylor's injuries put her into shock. She had three hours of surgery and 13 units of blood.

Helen Taylor's housemate in St Helens, Merseyside, said the sisters' mother died four years ago. Michelle Barrow, 26, a teacher, said: "Andrea was looking forward to the holiday the most. She had never been to Thailand and I think it was the first time they had been away as a family since their mum died. The family say there is a good chance Helen will be all right. They have not told her yet that Andrea has died. They just want her to concentrate on getting better."

The owners of the showground yesterday erected an iron fence around its perimeter. They accepted responsibility for the Taylors' medical costs but had "no idea" why the elephant attacked. A spokesman said: "I think it was confused." Paveena Hongsakul, Thailand minister of tourism, has ordered security to be tightened at 700 similar venues.

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