A routine training session with elephants at Elephants for Africa Forever (Efaf) in Mooketsi, near Duiwelskloof turned into tragedy for a young foreign student on Saturday November 12, 2005. Will Andrew, spending some of his ‘gap' year at Efaf, had just returned from a leisure break in the Kruger National Park and was taking part in a training session with four elephants.
Andrew sustained serious head injuries when an elephant bashed him against one of the poles in the stables. The student, posing as a tourist, apparently slid off the elephant's back and landed on the elephant cow's back foot. According to Howard Blight, coowner of Efaf, the elephant, Modjajdi, "had a fright, turned around and hit Andrew backward against the poles."
Andrew was rushed to a hospital in Polokwane where he had an emergency operation. By Wednesday, his parents had arrived from Kenya to be with him. "This is a terrible accident. The elephants had been in training for about a year and were almost ready for certification," says Blight. According to Blight, Efaf currently has 14 elephants. Most of these elephants are being prepared for elephant- back safaris at lodges and other venues throughout southern Africa.