A really dumbo idea

PHITSANULOKE: A drunk was left with critical head injuries after being slammed into a tree by an elephant he was teasing. The unfortunate event transpired on the morning of January 17. A crowd of curious villagers had gathered near the entrance to Wat Muang Hawm (“Temple of the Fragrant Mango”) in Tambon Kaengsopha, Wangthong District, to see an elephant that had been chained by his mahout to a bodhi tree. The elephant, a 15-year-old male named Plai Bodhi-ngen, was to perform in an elephant show later that day. He was also one of two elephants under the care of mahout Pramote Pomsuwan, 55. K. Pramote, employed by the Chaiyaphum-based Bodhirat traveling elephant show, had left the other elephant chained to a tree near a stream about two kilometers away. The crowd, including the temple abbot, was standing around admiring the elephant when local resident Sai Thammaku, 59, stepped up to the beast. Despite the early morning hour, K. Sai was drunk and began hugging the elephant’s trunk. When the crowd warned him to be careful, he bragged that it was no problem, because he was an old and experienced mahout. He also said he had stolen many elephants in his time, selling them for profit. To demonstrate that he had no fear of the elephant, he knocked hard on Plai Bodhi-ngen’s trunk. The pachyderm, angered by K. Sai’s knocking, shook his trunk hard, sending the drunken ex-mahout to the ground. But the elephant didn’t stop there. He then wrapped his trunk around Sai’s waist, picked him up like a rag doll and threw him against the tree. A branch pierced K. Sai’s mouth, leaving a gash that ripped open his face and extended all the way to the back of his skull Hearing screams, Plai Bodhi-ngen’s mahout, K. Pramote, rushed back to calm the enraged beast before calling the police to report the attack. K. Sai was rushed to nearby Wangthong Hospital and eventually transferred to the better-equipped Buddhachinaraj Hospital in Phitsanuloke’s Muang District. K. Pramote said that Plai Bodhi-ngen had never before attacked a human, which was why he felt it was safe to leave him alone among a crowd of strangers.

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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