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Injured honeymooner Tetiana Meia checks their Phuket trekking shots

Phuket Elephant Rampage Honeymooners Set to Fly Home

Monday, September 26, 2011
PHUKET: A honeymoon couple is catching a flight from Phuket tonight after a compensation payment from an elephant trekking company - and a promise that Captain the rogue male will not be used to carry tourists again.

''Females are fine,'' Tetiana Meia said today from her bed at Phuket International Hospital in Phuket City. ''But I do hope they stop using males.''

Ms Meia, 26, is recovering from serious leg injuries after Captain's attack on Pancake, another trekking elephant, on September 12, two days after she and husband Artem Perepelitsyn arrived on Phuket.

The Ukranian couple were trapped in their seats by lap sashes on Pancake when the elephant tumbled onto its side as Captain gored her with his tusks, inflicting a wound through Pancake's four-centimetre thick skin that will require four months of treatment.

The owners of Camp Chang in Kalim visited the couple today with staff to hand over flowers and the cash compensation of $3200, and to wish them all the best. One owner, Tsin Khanvilaikhun, will be at Phuket International Airport tonight to farewell the couple.

''We have sent Captain to Phnag Nga and his future will be carting logs,'' said Khun Tsin. Captain was also involved in a rampage last year in which a Swedish man leapt in terror from the elephant's back and broke his legs.

Two strikes, and Captain is out. Male elephants, it seems, are best used for logging, not tourist treks.

Ms Meia hopes to be up and walking within two months, while husband Artem, 24, hopes his damaged ankle will recover within two weeks. A doctor will travel with them tonight to Bangkok then on to Kiev, with a flight home to Odessa to follow.

''We did our research before we came,'' Ms Meia said. ''We knew there was a danger in riding a motorcycle on Phuket, especially without a helmet.

''But elephants? We just didn't know about elephants.''

The nightmare rampage is not something she or her husband will forget quickly. But they know it could have been worse: a Swiss woman was killed when a male went on a rampage in Phang Nga earlier this year.

At the first recollection of the rampage today, Ms Meia's hands go to her face, and she sobs. Later, she shows the scars on her legs, where one plate has been inserted in her right shin beneath 31 stitches and another in her left thigh. Some abrasions are still healing, too.

Talking about her experience is probably going to prove to be good therapy, and as a travel agent it's a tale she will probably be asked to tell more than once.

Mr Perepelitsyn says they've been treated well at Phuket International and they may return to Phuket when the time comes for Ms Meia's plates to be removed. While elephant rides are out of the question, he and his wife say they are happy with the compensation settlement.

Phuketwan has been calling since February for Phuket trekking companies to use only female elephants.
Phuket's Two-Time Rampaging Elephant Free to Keep Trekking
News Analysis A male elephant that went on the rampage on Phuket has caused a tourist to break a leg for the second time. Yet the elephant could already be back making treks.
Phuket's Two-Time Rampaging Elephant Free to Keep Trekking

Phuket Elephant Rampages: Time to Ban the Big Boys
News Analysis Elephants are among the world's most delightful creatures but if males are going to rampage and risk lives, then it's time to ban the big boys.
Phuket Elephant Rampages: Time to Ban the Big Boys

Phuket Tourists Tell: Rampaging Elephant Horror
UPDATE A Swedish couple have given a first hand account of a ride on a rampaging elephant that casts doubts over the use of male elephants for tourist rides on Phuket.
Phuket Tourists Tell: Rampaging Elephant Horror

Phuket Elephant Rampage: Swedish Pair Injured
UPDATE A Swedish tourist broke both heels as he leapt from a rampaging elephant on Phuket. A second tourist suffered minor injuries. The unhappy animal upended a tree that fell and wrecked a parked car.
Phuket Elephant Rampage: Swedish Pair Injured

Phuket Elephants: Tourism Heavy Haulers
Latest Every tourist loves elephants but the ones on Phuket and Phang Nga create their share of issues, small and large. The latest concerns are mostly environmental.
Phuket Elephants: Tourism Heavy Haulers

Chained Phuket Elephant Lucy Tugs at Emotions
Tourism's creatures An elephant named Lucy is tethered outside a souvenir market to attract tourists, but some say it's not appropriate and are saddened by her treatment.
Chained Phuket Elephant Lucy Tugs at Emotions

When a Phuket Elephant is Wounded in Action
Latest Where would Phuket be without its elephants? Almost every tourist wants to ride one. Yet while the bond between the animal and its mahout is inevitably strong, it is not always loving.
When a Phuket Elephant is Wounded in Action


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Nice to see that there was a somehow happy ending and that the company recognised that they were at fault by paying out a compensation . Hopefully lessons have been learnt this time,

Posted by Bjarne on September 26, 2011 16:31


how much is $3200??
what currency are you talking about??
i believe that baht are still the local currency!!

Posted by another steve on September 26, 2011 20:23

Editor Comment:

The compensation was paid in cash in US dollars, not baht. Our style has always been to use $ because the US dollar remains the leading dollar. $A is the Australian dollar and $S is the Singapore dollar. If you need to be told that $ is $US, things are much worse than we thought.


Just wait for all the drunken bums on Bangla Road running low on beer money to flock to the elephant trekking park hoping to meet a similar fate. $3,200 buys a hell of a lot of Changs and lady time! Then again I probably shouldn't be giving them ideas.

Posted by JJ on September 26, 2011 23:05


I think you will find that the dollar ($) sign is a standard for many countries. To indicate you mean US currency you would actually put US$.

If a reporter can't get that write, things are much worse than we thought.

Posted by Joel M on September 27, 2011 06:51


"If a reporter can't get that write" - hopefully, pun intended, or things are worse than worse.

Posted by Shane on September 27, 2011 14:26

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