Elephant and baby saved in dramatic rescue from manhole in Thailand

Boom lift, digger and resuscitation used in operation that took place in heavy rain in Khao Yai national park

Veterinarians and park staff have pulled off a dramatic rescue of a pair of elephants in Thailand that involved the use of a boom lift, a digger and the resuscitation of an unconscious mother by three people.

The rescue took place in the pouring rain in central Nakhon Nayok province on Wednesday when a one-year-old elephant fell into a roadside drainage hole. The distressed mother stood guard over her calf, according to national park staff, but also fell in shortly after she was sedated.

Rescuers used a truck-mounted boom lift to pull the mother out before climbing on top of her to perform simultaneous cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as a digger cleared away earth so the anxious calf could climb out from the slippery mud.

The calf began suckling its mother, who soon regained consciousness, and both returned immediately to the wild.

A man stands over a sedated mother elephant in the rain
Rescue workers perform CPR for a mother elephant a in Nakhon Nayok province, Thailand. Photograph: Taanruuamchon/Reuters

It took the team more than three hours to finish the operation.

Sky News reported that Dr Chananya Kanchanasarak, Khao Yai national park Department vet, said: “It was impossible to get near the baby while the mother was nearby so we gave her three doses of tranquillisers but she moved towards her baby before passing out and hit her head.”

An elephant calf sits in a manhole on top of a drainage pipe
An elephant calf stuck in a drainage manhole in Khao Yai national park, Thailand. Photograph: Taanruuamchon/Reuters

Chananya said it was “one of the most memorable rescues we’ve done”.

An excavator is lowered into a manhole where an elephant calf is stuck
Rescue workers use an excavator to free an elephant calf after it fell into a manhole. Photograph: Taanruuamchon/Reuters

With Reuters

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