The male elephant named ''Por'' turned on his mahout about 10.30am in a screened compound, minutes before tourists were to begin trekking from the Phuchada Safari in Rawai.
Police were still at the scene gleaning details from staff after the trampling. Handler Wittawat Salangam, 22, was unchaining the elephant when the 25-year-old beast turned on him.
Today's tragedy follows an incident on Sunday north of Phuket in which a Russian tourist and her young daughter rode the back of an 18-year-old bull elephant named Meaw as it trampled handler Suk Sapmak, 60.
Rescuers managed to subdue the creature with tranquliser darts.
The deaths in the neighboring province of Phang Nga and now in southern Phuket are likely to bring renewed calls for male elephants to be banned by law from taking tourists on treks.
The Director of Livestock Phuket, Weerasit Puthipairoj, told Phuketwan after the first death that male elephants sometimes went on rampages during musth, the strong mating urge that male elephants feel periodically.
''It's accepted that mahouts with male elephants need to isolate their animals in the jungle once the telltale signs of musth approaching become apparent,'' Khun Weerasit said.
The vast majority of about 215 elephants used for tourist treks on Phuket at 30 camps are female, he said.
Two deaths in the space of three days are likely to bring calls for males to be banned by law.
Some mahouts with male elephants, it appears, ignore their social responsibility to take their charges into seclusion and suffer the consequences.