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Teacher relives elephant attack

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A Spalding teacher has told how tourists filmed her being savaged by a bull elephant in South Africa and then left her and her fiancée to die.

Sarah Brooks (30), who is now home recovering, recalled how the elephant twice missed her when his tusks ripped through the car before one pierced her leg, leaving her streaming with blood.

Her fiancée Jans de Klerk, who works at the Red Lion pub in Spalding, pulled her across to his side of the car, which the elephant finally walked away from after pushing it up against a tree, smashing the windscreen.

Following hospital treatment in South Africa, Miss Brooks, a science teacher at Sir John Gleed School, is now convalescing but expects to be on crutches for several months.

In spite of pleading with the tourists in the Kruger National Park not to publish video footage of the attack, Miss Brooks said days later an edited version went viral.

Since then, the pair said they have received death threats, because the heavily edited footage made it look as if they drove towards the animal.

Recalling the attack, Miss Brooks told the Daily Mail she “completely freaked” as the elephant stormed towards them and in her panic was unable to find reverse in the hire car.

The couple resorted to stopping, turning off the ignition and looking at the ground, but seconds later the elephant rammed into them.

Miss Brooks said: “The next thing I heard was Jans screaming at me: ‘Drive! Drive!’

“I somehow managed to turn the engine on, Jans found reverse, but just as I got it going, the elephant tipped us up. Then he crushed the undercarriage by ramming it with his head, and the key snapped out of the ignition.

“I remember thinking, ‘We’re never going to be able to drive away now’ - and the next thing I knew we were rolling.

“At that moment, your life flashes through your head. I thought, ‘We’ve only been together a year-and-a-half, life’s good. Why now? Why the hell now? It just isn’t fair.’ I didn’t know if either of us would live.”

Fearing attacks from other animals, the couple waited for help after phoning Mr de Klerk’s brother, but it was 25 minutes before a helicopter landed.

Miss Brooks said: “They took me to a doctor, where I was patched up before being taken to a hospital to check for internal injuries.

“In the back of the ambulance, I said to Jans: ‘I don’t want ever to spend another day apart from you.’He said: ‘Marry me then?’ I said: ‘Yes.’”

 

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