The vehicle involved in the recent elephant incident at the Kruger National Park was a rental and it belonged to First Car Rental.
The vehicle is a write off but the unfortunate euthanasia of the elephant by SANParks rangers after the incident, and the injuries to the passengers, could have been avoided.
Mr Jans de Klerk (a South African living in the UK) and Ms Sarah Brooks (a UK citizen) were driving in the southern part of the Kruger National Park along the N’waswitshaka Waterhole, south of the Phabeni tar road.
They spotted an elephant bull and followed it at what they say they thought was a safe following distance – around 30 to 40 metres - and took a video of the animal as it ambled along. According to the renter, ‘the bull suddenly turned around, walked rapidly towards them and they decided the best option was to remain stationary.'
The couple said that they only started moving the vehicle away when the elephant broke into a full charge, but it was too late. The bull started attacking the vehicle and flipped it over about 20 metres into thick bush.
After watching the video, public opinion seems to suggest that it shows something a little different to this account of events and that De Klerk and Brooks continued moving up behind the elephant; they crossed over the road to be directly behind the elephant; they did not apply brakes; neither did they attempt to reverse or drive past it, and even when given lots of ‘warnings’ from the elephant, they still did not do the right thing and move away – forwards or backwards.
In fact, the overall public sentiment after watching the video (taken by park visitors behind them in a different car) is that they were in the wrong, and that they were following too closely behind the elephant and at no time did they attempt to distance themselves.
The sad truth is that the elephant was euthanized as a direct result of this incident, and the rental car is a write off, not to mention the gauging of Sarah Brooks’ leg and other injuries that are less-serious.
First Car Rental is investigating this incident very closely with a legal entity and should they find that the renter is responsible for the incident, then they will pay for the vehicle in full, due to gross negligence.
To watch the full video visit: http://www.firstcarrental.co.za/-elephant-rolls-first-car-rental-vehicle.aspx