Woman killed after ‘crawling under elephant for selfie’

·2-min read

An elephant crushed a woman to death after she took a selfie and crawled under its belly for good luck.

Siriporn Gongngern, 48, approached the 26-year-old male jumbo named Boom while it was tied up in a garden in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand on January 15.

Local culture suggests that passing under an elephant's tummy while touching its skin will bring good fortune and those who do it will be able to 'pass through any obstacle in life'.

Siriporn tried the ritual without permission when the elephant was unaccompanied, local media reports.

The elephant was reportedly startled by Siriporn and trampled on her skull.

Elephant Boom trampled on the woman, inflicting injuries that would kill her. Source: Viral Press/ Australscope
Elephant Boom trampled on the woman, inflicting injuries that would kill her. Source: Viral Press/ Australscope

The woman was found later that morning lying in a pool of her blood with several broken bones. She was taken to hospital but later pronounced dead.

Locals said that Siriporn was struggling financially and believed the superstition that passing under an elephant's tummy would bring her good luck.

"Siriporn loved elephants and she wanted to pass under its tummy as they're special animals. She wanted to do that so she could have good luck," local resident Fah Pinthong said.

The elephant's caretaker Pisan Singkhondanpana, 42, said that his income had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic so he took Boom to the field for visitors to pose with.

Siriporn Gongngern's body pictured in hospital. Source: Viral Press/ Australscope
Siriporn Gongngern's body pictured in hospital. Source: Viral Press/ Australscope

He said that Boom was tame but Siriporn had tried to get too close to the elephant without supervision.

"She approached the elephant without asking me. She startled Boon, that’s why he hit her. Boon is normally calm and never aggressive, this never happened before," Pisan said.

Pisan said that at the time of the incident, the garden was closed for maintenance and that he had tied the elephant to a tree before leaving to run errands in the same area.

Authorities are now contacting the woman's family so they can make funeral arrangements while investigations are ongoing.

Police Lieutenant Anthong Roi-Wen from the San Pa Tong district police station said he was confident the death was accidental and warned Pisan to ensure the elephant was secure at all times.

- Viral Press/ Australscope

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