Six die in Thai pileup caused by three elephants

BANGKOK - An accident involving three elephants and three vehicles in south-eastern Thailand Wednesday left six people dead and one pachyderm badly injured, media reports said.

The pile-up occurred in Wang Chan district of Rayong province, 120 kilometres south-east of Bangkok, around dawn when a 10-wheel truck swerved and braked to avoid three elephants that had wandered on to the road, the Manager online news service reported.

A pickup truck slammed into the back of the 10-wheeler, killing two people and injuring two others, and an SUV swerved to avoid the pickup, crashing into one of the elephants, Police Captain Thanet Piumsorasak said.

The SUV then tumbled off the road and overturned, killing all four people in the car, including one Singaporean, Thanet said.

The elephant suffered a broken leg and a bloody ear, according to the Bangkok Post. Pitak Yingyong, a forestry official, said the elephants were from the nearby Khao Anglunai Wildlife Reserve, and might have left the reserve in search of food.