Spalding: Teacher Speaks After Elephant Attack
25 January 2014, 05:49
A Spalding teacher, who suffered a serious leg injury when an elephant tore through her car in South Africa, has told how she desperately tried to drive away.
Sarah Brooks, who works at the Sir John Gleed School, and her South African fiancee Jans de Klerk, were attacked by the elephant as they drove through the Kruger National Park on December 30.
The couple have now returned to England after Miss Brooks spent more than a week recovering from a pelvis fracture and stitches to her right leg after the elephant's tusk pierced it.
The pair have received death threats since footage of the attack - which they say was heavily edited to make it look as if they drove towards the animal - went viral.
The 30-year-old science teacher 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 then 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.''
She recalled how the bull elephant twice missed her when his tusks ripped through the car before one pierced her leg leaving her streaming with the blood.
Mr de Klerk, who was left unhurt, managed to pull her across to his side of the car, which the elephant finally walked away from only after pushing it up against a tree smashing the windscreen.
The incident was captured on film by tourists in a car behind, but they drove off after the attack believing the pair to be dead.
The couple, who feared attacks from other animals, waited for help after phoning Mr de Klerk's brother but it was 25 minutes before a helicopter landed.
They took me to a doctor, where I was patched up before being taken to a hospital to check for internal injuries,'' Miss Brooks said.
"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.'''
She told the newspaper that she pleaded with the tourists not to publish the footage, but days later an edited version went viral.
The male elephant, who was believed to be a risk to other tourists, was destroyed after the incident.
The animal had been ''on musth'', a periodic condition where testosterone levels rise and elephants become more aggressive, and had fought with another elephant earlier that day.
The couple said park rangers told them they were ``just unlucky'' and had done nothing wrong.