Tourists travelling in South Africa’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park recently were lucky to survive a frightening encounter with an elephant that pushed their vehicle off the road and overturned it on the grassy verge. According to a statement from the reserve, the incident took place on Sunday morning on the eastern shores of the park near Cape Vidal.

A short clip, captured from a second vehicle some distance away, shows the elephant tilting the vehicle up with its tusks before rolling it onto its roof. The occupants – two adults and two children – did not suffer any major injuries.

It’s unclear what triggered the elephant to go on the offensive, but it’s possible that the aggressor in this case was a male in “musth”. When in this heightened hormonal state, bulls can become highly aggressive, and have been responsible for similar car-crushing behaviour in the past.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park website reports that in 2018 there were over 200 elephants spread out across the Western Shores, Eastern Shores and uMkhuze sections of the reserve.

“Although such incidents are not a common occurrence in iSimangaliso, we wish to caution our visitors to always remain vigilant and keep to a distance of at least 50 metres from wildlife, particularly the big five,” the park authorities urged in a statement.

As this is an isolated incident, the elephant will not be relocated or euthanized.

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Top header image: Brittany H., Flickr