Elephant handler charged after tourist killed by the animal


KO SAMUI, Thailand – An elephant handler has been charged over the tragic death of a Scottish tourist killed by the animal.

Gareth Crowe was on a trek with step-daughter Eilidh Hughes when the tragedy happened on the island of Ko Samui in Thailand.

The 36-year-old was thrown from the elephant after it got upset, and was fatally gorged by its tusk.

Sixteen-year-old Eilidh managed to escape with minor injuries, and is being treated in hospital.

Now, according to local press reports, the elephant handler who accompanied them on the trek has been charged.

Police have said initial investigations suggest his recklessness contributed to the death.

They say he neglected his duty by climbing down from the elephant’s neck to take photos of the tourists, before losing control of the animal.

The handler, also known as a mahout, is a Burmese national, working in Thailand.

Bo Put Provincial Police Station Director Pol Col Thewet Pluemsut has said pictures from Mr Crowe’s camera shows the moment the mahout climbed off the elephant to take photos.

The mahout has been charged over his “inattentiveness” which resulted in death and injuries.

Mr Crowe, who lived in Islay before moving to Linwood, was on holiday with his partner Catherine Hughes, 42, mother to Eilidh and her brother Mark, who decided not to go on the trek.

Witnesses said the mahout climbed down to take photos of the tourists when the elephant threw the father and daughter off its back, before trampling the man and stabbing him in the chest with a tusk, killing him instantly.