Giraffe attack leaves mum and son critical

South Africa


'Mr Williams chased the giraffe away, but not before his family had sustained serious injuries' (stock photo)
‘Mr Williams chased the giraffe away, but not before his family had sustained serious injuries’ (stock photo)

The wife and three-year-old son of a British scientist living in South Africa are in critical condition in a Johannesburg hospital after being attacked by a giraffe near their home.

Dr Sam Williams, a 36-year-old UK resident, was returning from an evening run in Blyde Wildlife Estate, where the family lives, when he saw his wife Katy (35) and their son, Finn, being attacked by a female giraffe 150m from their home.

Mr Williams chased the giraffe away, but not before his family had sustained serious injuries. They were treated at the scene by local doctors and then airlifted from the estate on the outskirts of Hoedspruit, in South Africa’s Limpopo province, to Busamed Modderfontein Hospital in Johannesburg.

Finn was operated on to relieve pressure in his brain due to his injuries. Dr Katy Williams, who born in the United States, was operated on for multiple injuries.

Both mother and son were in critical but stable condition, the family said in a statement. It said the family has “decided to take one day at a time and stay positive”.

Riaan Cilliers, manager at the Blyde Wildlife Estate, said the giraffe had a two-month-old calf, which Dr Williams said may have made it see his wife and son as a threat. Both Katy and Sam Williams work in animal-related fields.

Though giraffes are herbivores and not generally aggressive toward humans, they can lash out if they feel threatened.

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Irish Independent

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