Hin Kong village headman Anant Yaemchai was informed the body of a man had been found in a sugarcane field yesterday morning (Dec 28). Police and an ambulance were called to the scene.
The dead man was dressed in a long-sleeved shirt and jeans and was lying on his back. His clothes and face were covered with blood and his body pounded partly into the ground. There were many elephant footprints around the area.
The body was identified as that of Ampai Wunnakul, 52, who served as a volunteer citizen policeman in his community. He had been helping state officials, locals and staff from Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary drive a wild elephant away from the village on Wednesday.
The headman called off the operation when night fell, deeming it too dangerous to continue in the dark, said Capt Sukchai Wunnongsa of the Khlong Hat Police.
“The headman called off all efforts to move the elephant away at 7pm. However, Mr Ampai apparently continued driving the elephant away by himself,” Capt Sukchai said.
The area was on a steep slope and Mr Ampai’s flashlight may have startled the elephant, which attacked him, Capt Sukchai asserted.
The headman had earlier been informed that an elephant from Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary was making its way towards the area, and had warned the village.
Mr Ampai’s wife, Supee Wunnakul, said she knew her husband had gone out to help drive off the elephant, but was not concerned when he did not come home at night because they were both busy people.
“When I was told that my husband had been trampled by an elephant nearby, and after seeing it for myself, I completely lost control,” Ms Supee said.
“We are poor. Together we have five children and today we have lost the head of the house. How are we going to survive?”
The elephant has since made its way to an adjacent district.
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