A Spalding teacher is recovering from a terrifying ordeal in South Africa after being gored by a rampaging bull elephant that was on heat.
Sarah Brooks (30), who teaches at Sir John Gleed School, and her fiance were on safari filming the animal drinking at a waterhole near Pretoriuskop when it turned and charged at them.
The elephant’s tusk ripped through Miss Brooks’ upper thigh and flipped their blue Volkswagen car, shunting it about 130ft down a track into thick bushland.
Miss Brooks was airlifted to the Medi-Clinic hospital in Nelspruit from the Kruger National Park, where the attack took place during the school Christmas holidays.
She has since been discharged, but is still in the country, recovering with her fiance Jans de Klerk, who escaped from the ordeal unhurt.
The couple were on holiday to celebrate their recent engagement and for Miss Brooks to meet her fiance’s South African family.
Park spokesman William Mabasa said the elephant was particularly aggressive because it was in musth – or on heat – and injured, and it was later shot.
He said: “The elephant suddenly stopped, turned around and rapidly walked towards the vehicle, which was stationary. It charged at them, attacked the vehicle and flipped it over, off the road, into the thick bushes.”
Since the attack, elephant expert Dr Michelle Henley of Save the Elephants has warned tourists to stay away from an elephant bull in musth.
Dr Henley has advised tourists to heed the telltale signs of the periodic condition affecting male elephants, which can increase their testosterone levels by up to 60 times
She said: “You have to be doubly cautious when you see an elephant in musth,
“They are far more aggressive because their testosterone levels are very elevated.”
Bryan Jones, of the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre said: “Musth happens in the breeding season when young bachelor bulls try to enter a breeding herd to mate.”
“They are often driven away by the dominant male of that herd and may divert their frustration onto something else, sometimes humans.”
Will Scott, headteacher at Sir John Gleed School where Sarah has taught since 2010, said: “We are all shocked by what has happened to Sarah and we wish her a full and speedy recovery.”