Man Hospitalized After a Giraffe Fell on His Vehicle During a Safari in South Africa

Ashley Boucher
Man Hospitalized After a Giraffe Fell on His Vehicle During a Safari in South Africa

An elderly Swiss man has been hospitalized after a car accident involving a wild giraffe at a national park in South Africa.

The injured Swiss man and his wife were traveling in a rental camper through Kruger National Park on Sunday when a tourist bus carrying 13 visitors through the park collided with a giraffe, causing the massive animal to fall onto the rental car.

The man’s wife suffered minor injuries from what the park called on Twitter a “massive crash,” but her husband was “seriously injured” and ended up being airlifted to a nearby hospital’s intensive care unit.

While the park tweeted on Sunday that “the Swiss driver was responding at the scene and his condition is stable,” MSN reported the same day that he was on life support. KNP did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

The park said on Twitter Sunday that plans were being made to transfer the man to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, about 250 miles away from the park, as soon as possible.

Sadly the 18-foot-tall giraffe was killed in the accident, Isaac Phaahla, the park’s general manager of communications and marketing, said in a press release.

Damaged bus | Kruger National Park/Twitter
Damaged vehicle | Kruger National Park/Twitter

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Two passengers from the tourist bus were treated for minor injuries, Phaahla said.

Guests to Kruger National Park are able to take guided tours but are also able to go on self-drive safaris, which is what the Swiss couple were doing.

The collision happened north of the Mopani Rest Camp in the park, and the bus was traveling south on its way to the Letaba Rest Camp. The Swiss couple was driving the opposite way.

In its conduct guidelines, the park says that it is an “offense” to drive off of unauthorized roads, drive over the speed limits, or to drive “in such a manner that it is a nuisance, disturbance, or an inconvenience to other persons.”

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It is currently unclear whether either vehicle involved in the crash was doing any of the above, but photos reveal skid marks behind the bus leading to some speculation it was speeding.

Phaahla told MSN, “we are aware of the length of skid marks left by the minibus taxi but it is not our job to speculate on the speed the taxi was driving at but to leave that to the police investigation.”

The South African Police Service has launched an investigation into the crash and what may have caused it. The SAPS did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Phaahla encouraged anyone planning a visit to the park to be extra careful of park rules and aware of the wildlife.

“We are approaching the festive season in a month’s time and encourage visitors to plan their trips between gates and camps so as to eliminate the need to hurry, please also exercise caution as the wildlife has no concept of traffic rules,” he said in the press release.