Tamil Nadu Police arrested the manager of a hill resort in the famous Nilgiris hill-station and two of its employees, after a French woman tourist was shockingly killed by a wild elephant she tried to photograph with her camera near the ‘Mudumalai Tiger Reserve’ in the district bordering Karnataka.
Del Yotel Annie, aged 66, trekking the forests near Bokkapuram near Gudalur in Nilgirs district yesterday was menacingly struck by the pachyderm’s trunk and she “fell down and died, possibly of hit and shock,” the Nilgiris SP, Mr Kapilkumar Saratkar told HT on Saturday.
Annie, a retired teacher and hailing from Neuilly Sir Marne in Northern France, who had couple of days back come from Bangalore along with her son, 39-year-old son Fredrick Jean Lue, went trekking in the Bokkapuram forest area after they checked in at the private ‘Blue Valley’ hill resort there.
The duo went on a clicking spree spotting a herd of elephants. But a pachyderm and a calf suddenly charged towards them knocking down Annie, while the calf injured Fredrick. Two resort assistants, George and Raju, who accompanied them “acting as guides”, fled the scene and reported the matter to the Forest officials, the SP said.
While Annie died on the way to hospital, Fredrick escaped with minor injuries. After the post-mortem, the body of the French tourist was taken back to Bangalore en route to France , the Police official said.
The grim tragedy which shook Nilgiris district was as much due to the French tourists “over-enthusiasm” for wildlife photography as due to the negligence of the local resort owners who often “mislead” foreign tourists and take them on such tours without proper permission from the Forest Department, Mr Saratkar said.
To send a strong deterrent message to such hill resorts in the area, Police arrested the ‘Blue Valley Resort’ manager, Mr Jogi Philip and two of its employees, George and Raju who accompanied the tourists, under section 304 (A) IPC – a negligent act causing the death of a person. The resort owners should not take tourists on such tours of the forest areas without permission, proper assistance and guidance from the Forest Department, the Police official warned.