Son of American killed by Elephant in Africa defends animal, 'mom would have done the same’ - Hindustan Times
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Son of American killed by Elephant in Africa defends animal, 'mom would have done the same’

ByAditi Srivastava
Apr 05, 2024 01:50 PM IST

Son of American tourist killed by elephant in Zambia defends animal, doesn't blame driver.

Blake Vetter, the son of an American tourist who tragically lost her life in Africa after being attacked by an elephant while on a safari, has spoken out in support of the animal. The incident occurred in the Kafue National Park in Zambia, where Gail Mattson, an 80-year-old woman from Minnesota, sustained fatal injuries. Despite the heartbreaking loss of his mother, Vetter has chosen not to assign blame to either the elephant or the driver involved in the incident.

An American woman died after an elephant attacked a safari vehicle in Africa (Pixabay - representational image)
An American woman died after an elephant attacked a safari vehicle in Africa (Pixabay - representational image)

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Son says Mom wouldn't blame Elephant for fatal incident

"She was really looking forward to this, and she also knew there were risks and that anytime something could happen," Vetter told Daily Mail. He continued, "People want to blame the elephant and the driver. It's awful how people don't know what's going on. The elephant was being an elephant. My mom would be the first to defend the driver and the elephant.”

Elephant attack in Zambia's Kafue National Park

Over the weekend, a video went viral showing a group of tourists on a safari in Zambia's Kafue National Park being attacked by a wild elephant. A group of travelers were taking pictures of the jungle when a huge bull elephant suddenly charged towards them. Although the video doesn't show the people in the vehicle, you can hear the tourists screaming as the elephant approaches. The tragic incident resulted in the death of a 79-year-old Minnesota woman Gail Matson. Meanwhile, six other tourists who were together with Matson sustained minor injuries and were rushed to a local hospital.

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The CEO of Wilderness Zambia, a safari organizer, explained that the difficult terrain hindered a quick escape. The organizers expressed their cooperation with the police investigation and offered condolences to Mattson's family. As per the CEO’s statement, “The operation's guides are all extremely well trained and experienced, but sadly in this instance the terrain and vegetation was such that the guide's route became blocked and he could not move the vehicle out of harm's way quickly enough.”

Meanwhile, Mattson, a retired loan officer, had just spent 11 days on a month-long foreign trip. The adventurous grandmother had been an explorer since retirement.

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