Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Guard protecting mine workers from escaped lions sadly meets his death as elephant tramples upon him

A guard protecting mine workers from a pride of 14 escaped lions met a brutal end when he was trampled to death by an elephant.

Eric Kgatla, 45, was believed to have left his guard hut around two hours before dawn at the Foskor Mine in Phalaborwa, South Africa.

He and his colleagues had been on full alert after a pride of lions were found to be living very close to the phosphate mine - and were ordered to lookout for the predators.

But while checking for lions in the darkness, the security guard surprised an elephant which immediately attacked and trampled him - killing him instantly.

A fellow guard also out on patrol heard the elephant trumpeting in the pitch black and sprinted back to his guard hut for safety.

He stumbled across the terribly mutilated body of his friend and immediately called for medical assistance, despite knowing his associate was dead. 

The mine is just five miles from the famous Kruger National Park - where it was first believed the lions escaped from - and had been on full alert ever since the man-eaters had been seen nearby.

The two guards were on duty at one of the entrances to the mine with one in a guard hut each side of the road at 4am on Saturday - watching out for the missing pride of lions as well as criminals.

Frans Mokhondo, a spokesman for the mine, said: 'According to the report one security guard was busy patrolling when he heard an elephant trumpeting and he tried to warn the other guard.

'He ran to the other guard room but he could not find him and then he searched for him and found his body not far from the guard room. He had been trampled and the elephant had gone'. 

It is thought the elephant may have broken down a fence to get out of Kruger National Park and it is believed to have wandered off to the area where the lions were living.

Mr Kgatla's family have been informed of his horrific death.

Mr Mokhondo added: 'Our premises are adjacent to the Kruger National Park so animals do break the fence and move into our area and we have lions also now spotted on the mine premises.

'They will be tracked down today and hopefully returned to the national park' he said.