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Indian forest official trampled to death by wild elephant while recording video

A 45-year-old forest department official was trampled to death by a wild elephant in the Indian state of Maharashtra as he was recording a video of a herd that had entered a farm.

The incident happened in the Dongargaon (Halbi) forest in Gadchiroli district, an official release said. The herd entered the farm at 5pm on Saturday and a team of forest officials was sent to the spot to keep a watch.

Sudhakar B Atram, who worked as a driver with the department, parked his vehicle and was recording a video of the herd when an elephant broke away and suddenly charged at him. While others managed to escape, Atram tripped and fell, according to NDTV.

The elephant picked him up and flung him in the air as his colleagues watched in horror.

His team later chased the herd away and retrieved his body from the forest. He died of the multiple injuries he suffered. Atram’s body was sent for autopsy and forest officials were investigating the incident.

A report in the Times of India newspaper said the Gadchiroli district was grappling with human-elephant conflict for a while, and the herd had migrated from neighbouring Chhattisgarh in 2021, injuring farmers and ruining crop fields. Last year a villager was trampled to death near the Navegaon National Park.