This is the terrifying moment a ferocious elephant slammed into a pickup truck and ripped off the bonnet with its tusks – leaving the driver in fear for his life.
Fuel supply driver Norman Nukeri, 47, was heading to a client’s motel in Hoedspruit, South Africa, on June 1 when he was forced to stop his vehicle as a family of Wild African elephants crossed the dirt road ahead.
Within minutes, Mr. Nukeri was no longer afraid for his life when one of the elephants started racing towards his Toyota and pushed the 2.5-ton vehicle and its fuel-filled trailer behind.
CCTV footage shows the elephant striding towards the vehicle when Mr. Nukeri banged on the door in an attempt to scare away the creature.
The animal appeared to back away and disappear on the other side of the road – but it quickly turned around and headed straight for the front of the car.
The bonnet immediately crumbled as the elephant pushed the large vehicle and its fuel-filled trailer, while footage inside the vehicle showed Mr. Nukeri frozen in fear.
Watching the footage, the shell-shocked driver said he was too scared to leave the vehicle and only felt safe when rangers from the Klasirie Private Nature Reserve arrived.
Mr. Nukeri, who was returning to the same route today, said: ‘I stopped when I saw the elephants in the distance, then the other one appeared from my left. It hit the truck and went away, so I was relieved but then it came back again.
‘It lunged at me and pushed the truck. I just thought to hold the brake and pull the handbrake up. I was terrified. I didn’t move because I was just shocked.
‘I thought it could be a life-threatening situation. I’m afraid he’s going to push the truck into the river. I didn’t know what would happen to me. I was scared for my life.
‘I was worried that it would come back again, so I called the office and didn’t want to get out of the truck. I only felt safe when the rangers arrived. I was very relieved.
‘I’m glad it’s over, but I’m going back to where I was today. Instead, I will drive the big truck. I will be very vigilant from now on.
‘It’s one in a million things that will happen. I don’t think many people have gone through that. I was in the wrong place and at the wrong time. ‘
After the encounter, images showed damage to the truck’s bonnet and rear, which Bosbok Gas’s chief operating and marketing officer, Nathan Traut, claimed would cost around £750 to repair.
Mr. Traut expressed relief that his ‘top driver’ had survived without injury and added that the company director even took him out for a drink after the incident to ease his nerves.
He said: ‘We’re so relieved he’s okay because he’s been our main driver! When he called, he was having a hard time breathing. We went to pick him up after the incident, but Norman wasn’t driving.
‘When you watch the video of him in the truck, and you look at his t-shirt, you can see his heart pounding. He went into shock for a day or two after that.
‘When we got back to town, the director took him out and had a few drinks with him to relax.”