A bus crashed into an elephant that escaped from a circus near some of Mexico’s most famous pyramids, killing the nearly 5-tonne animal and the bus driver, Mexican news reports said.
The elephant, named Hilda and about 40 years old, broke free while being fed on Monday evening, crashed through a gate and later stumbled on to a major road near Mexico City at around midnight.
Mexican media quoted police at the scene as saying the bus stood no chance of avoiding the elephant, near the Teotihuacan pyramids.
“I untied her so she could eat,” Marcelino Ramos, 22, one of the animal keepers at the Circo Union circus, was quoted as saying in the El Universal daily newspaper.
She never did this before, but suddenly she ran at full speed and broke through the gate. Several passengers on the bus were injured in the crash.
Mexico has seized 12 animals from a circus a day after one of its elephants wandered onto a highway and was struck and killed by a bus.
Mexico’s Environmental Protection office said the two Asian elephants and 10 Siberian tigers were not properly contained and were at risk of escaping.
The office said Wednesday in a statement that inspectors found the elephants tied to the tire of a trailer. Doors on several of the trailers also lacked proper locks.
On Tuesday, a 5-ton elephant named Indra escaped the circus, wandered onto a highway outside Mexico City and was hit by a bus carrying 41 passengers. The driver and the pachyderm died.
Mexican media reported that the elephant escaped as its keeper arrived to feed it.