BY Philip Caulfield
Two hulking elephants rampaged through a southern India city Wednesday, killing at least one man and causing widespread panic.
Authorities said the wild jumbos wandered from a forest near Mysore, in the state of Karnataka, around 6:00 a.m. and tore through the city for nearly three hours.
The victim, Renuka Prasad, a 55-year-old who lived in the city’s Bamboo Bazaar neighborhood, was trampled when he stepped out of his house to see what was going on, Indian news agencies said.
He was taken to a nearby government hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Video footage from Indian television NewsX showed one of the elephants repeatedly goring and kicking a man’s lifeless body during a gruesome attack in a narrow alley, as horrified residents looked on.
It wasn’t clear if that man, whom the animal left in a pool of blood on some steps, was Prasad.
Separate video footage also showed the animals roaming a local women’s college, chasing a bus, crushing parked motorcycles and attacking a cow.
In some scenes, frenzied locals pelted the animals with stones to try to scare them off.
After three hours, forest rangers from the Mysore zoo managed to capture both beasts using tranquilizer guns.
The animals were released back into the wild late Wednesday, Karnataka state higher education minister S.A. Ramdas said.
State forest department officials said the pair came from a forest about 20 miles away from the city, which is about 90 miles west of Bangalore.
Two other elephants also emerged from the forest, and officials said they suspected those two were roaming the outskirts of the city on Wednesday afternoon.
Karnataka state higher education minister S.A. Ramdas said local schools and colleges were closed and extra police were deployed throughout the day as a precaution.
One official blamed the rampage on the push of human settlements into forested areas where elephants live.
With News Wire Services
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