Afternoon ride turns ugly for German cyclist

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After attacking Sherding, Ply Kumkoon became agitated and remained on the loose until shot with a tranquillizer gun.

A German cyclist’s afternoon ride through nature turned ugly last week when a frightened elephant charged him and gored his leg.

Local residents found Hans Dieter Sherding, 69, lying next to his damaged bicycle in a Soi Nongmaikan 19 ditch in Banglamung around 2pm August 24.

Eyewitness Boonsom Thongrod, an employee of the Pattaya Elephant Village, told police he often saw Sherding riding his bike past the village in the morning without incident, but on this particular afternoon, Sherding was confronted by 38-year-old elephant Ply Kumkoon. The elephant, normally quiet, was known to be scared of people.

Boonsom said he and others told Sherding to back away, but said Sherding didn’t move and stood still to observe the massive animal.

Ply Kumkoon’s mahout, “Bird”, 40, said that the elephant had only been working in Pattaya for a month. He said he took it to a local stream to bathe that morning, but it escaped.

After attacking Sherding, Ply Kumkoon became agitated and remained on the loose until Padej Siridamrong, a veterinarian from Nernplabwan Pet Hospital, was called in while officers shot the pachyderm with a tranquillizer gun 30 minutes later.

Rescue workers from the Sawangboriboon Thammasathan Pattaya Foundation gave Sherding first aid before sending him to Banglamung Hospital.

The ultimate fate of the elephant was yet to be determined.