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German Tourist Fatally Injured After Falling From Elephant's Back


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It is FAR too soon for a "report" - what is happening now is that some people are engaging other "reputable" people to engage in a cover-up.

There also seems to be two parallel issues here

One is the actual incident and how it reflects on Thai health and safety

Two is the treatment and exploitation of animals in Thailand.

Both are a source of shame for this country.

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And if they were overweight where was the professionalism of the operators ...??? Sorry can't accommodate you or sometihing like that ?? Or excuse us for a moment but we have to adjust the seat...?

:rolleyes:

Sad story. It is especially tragic when you hear of accidents when people are on holiday. I expect the seat should not have tilted had it been fastened properly.

I agree! But why do I get this feeling in my gut that both of these people were very much overweight?

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And yes, why in the first place do people encourage these tourist traps that harm these poor elephants...?? There are a few Conservation Elephant camps that are totally different to these tourist traps where you are not allowed to ride the elepahants.... You can feed them, learn about them and even bathe them.. BUT YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO RIDE THEM .!! Khun Lek's camp at Elephant Nature Camp in Mae Rim is one of them and she also has an Elephant hospital in Lampang where she has rescued so many Elephants who got their legs blown off on land mines and has miraculously managed to make prothesis's for them to save them .. Patara is another eample of great Elephant care and here you can ride the Elephants but bareback only and with a mahout by your side at all times .... these tourist traps need to be closed as they do not help or do any good for these wonderful creatures .... send them to Khun Lek or to Patara or even Baan Chang

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Cowslip, I am not saying 20 degrees, or any figure, is safe and more is not. What I am saying is that on the 'facts' as reported, the wife lunged at the husband and the both went over the side as a consequence. I'm not being dogmatic about the position as you are. I do have some knowledge of how the law works, having studied law at university for three years before going flying for a living. That was 30+ years ago but principles of law don't change. What I am saying is that because the seat moved, that does not, in itself, dictate how the poor woman met her end. Even a not very smart barrister would punch holes in that proposition in the first five minutes.

I am not suggesting, as you are the opposite, that I am right and you are wrong, but I don't think any claim for compensation would be likely to get very far, even in a western country.

You are obviously far too uncritical when it comes to reading the media - there is no "report" as yet. Your ideas are based on mistaken assumptions...and it would see you either haven't read or don't understand my posts.

Cowslip, I have read and understand your posts, not difficult because they are rather simplistic, and you make reference to 'common sense'. You need only to walk down the street to know that 90% of people have none .

The 'report' to which I refer is that in the opening post, and it seems that is from the Nation newspaper. It is a newspaper report. I made no reference to any other report, e.g., police or coronial, so perhaps it is you who doesn't understand.

This issue has obviously become adversarial for you, so I will bow out. I wouldn't want you to become overexcited and have a heart attack. I would hate to be your wife or girl friend with an overbearing 'I am always right' attitude such as yours.

KKK, the only reason insurance companies settle out of court is to avoid legal costs in what is a case they feel, on advice, that they would inevitably lose. It's not as simple as somebody feeling they've been wronged, submitting a claim and being paid. The law is essentially about precedents, being established, and being over turned. Lawyers in a case such as this would look for similar 'accidents', how they played out, the amount of damages if negligence was proved, and an assessment would be made on whether it would be worth going to court.

Newsweird, once again, the loose seat cannot automatically be blamed as the cause of death unless it turned to a point where it actually evicted the people. We don't know that from the article/report (there's that word again cowslip). That the seat slipped can't necessarily blamed on poorly trained staff. It could, for example, have been due to faulty equipment. There is not enough in the report (Nation report) to determine anything in any detail. Recommendations to prevent future falls will come as a result of a coronial enquiry if one is held. If this went to court, a pivotal part of the case would be this: If the woman hadn't lunged/jumped to her husband, would the tilting of the seat alone have cause the people to be thrown out?

I find it astounding that there are so many who currently live in Thailand who seem to want to do nothing but pour <deleted> on everything Thai. You have choices.

Edited by F4UCorsair
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KKK, the only reason insurance companies settle out of court is to avoid legal costs in what is a case they feel, on advice, that they would inevitably lose.

And in this case that is probably what would happen if it had occurred in the west.....which is the opposite of what you had said originally.....

I would doubt that the elephant, the mahout, the tour operator has any kind of insurance to cover themselves for any responsibility in such a tragic accident as this. That only leaves the tourists own travel insurance, if they had any.

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That the seat slipped can't necessarily blamed on poorly trained staff. It could, for example, have been due to faulty equipment.

But isn't it the responsibility of the staff, poorly trained or not, to ensure that equipment is in good condition. If it was a manufacturing fault that the staff could not have seen then the manufacturers should take responsibility. Just because an inanimate object may have been the cause does not relieve responsibility from a human.

I find it astounding that there are so many who currently live in Thailand who seem to want to do nothing but pour <deleted> on everything Thai.

Now you know that is not the case. I would have expected better than that from you....

You have choices.

Oh no..not the get out if you can't take it anymore brigade......REALLY

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And yes, why in the first place do people encourage these tourist traps that harm these poor elephants...?? There are a few Conservation Elephant camps that are totally different to these tourist traps where you are not allowed to ride the elepahants.... You can feed them, learn about them and even bathe them.. BUT YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO RIDE THEM .!! Khun Lek's camp at Elephant Nature Camp in Mae Rim is one of them and she also has an Elephant hospital in Lampang where she has rescued so many Elephants who got their legs blown off on land mines and has miraculously managed to make prothesis's for them to save them .. Patara is another eample of great Elephant care and here you can ride the Elephants but bareback only and with a mahout by your side at all times .... these tourist traps need to be closed as they do not help or do any good for these wonderful creatures .... send them to Khun Lek or to Patara or even Baan Chang

I'm not saying you are wrong but how do we know whether the elephant is happy to carry us as a passenger or not. After all we can't talk to them about it can we. Many animals are in fact more contented when they have work to do. Ok some of those are bred specially for that purpose. This is not the case with elephants but most are born in captivity and have no knowledge of their natural environment. Where do you draw the line with an elephant? Do you not allow riding but allow them to be used in logging. Where has an elephant said it is OK for us to swim and bathe with them but not ride them. Do you not think that at some time in an elephant's life he/she probably thinks 'heh, leave me alone, I'm old enough to bath myself'. Do you not even allow them any of that instead keeping them chained up where they walk round and round in circles bored out of their minds. Probably the best would be to release them back into their natural environment where they occupy themselves foraging for food and taking care of their herd and young. But in this world of 7 billion I doubt that we have the space. Rouge/wild elephants can be a big problem to human habitation especially if in musk.

I used to visit one of the elephant camps outside of Pattaya on a regular basis with my then preteen son. We don't go there anymore since he has grown up. We would just buy some bananas and feed the elephants. We never rode one. I certainly did not notice any abuse .. I did not witness any unnecessary prodding, poking, hitting of the animals. I did not see any sores or other forms of wounds that would have lead me to believe the elephants were being mistreated. What I did notice was these great beasts going about the business of earning their keep, food, shelter, medical care etc.

To put a poodle in a dress and keep it locked up in a high rise condo where it is overly pampered, kissed and cuddled by some aging spinster hag is way more abusive then anything I've noticed in regard to elephants.

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Continuing from my previous post.......

And if elephant riding is so bad as you seem to contend what about the millions of horses that are ridden and raced each day!

From some research I've just done..it is not really the riding of elephants that seems to be objected to but the training that the elephant has to endure before it will allow a person on its back. If what I've read is true then I might tend to agree that riding on an elephants back is not so good. The same could also be said of horses ... and I have seen the torture that a horse is subjected to before it may allow someone to ride it.

Edited by KKK
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KKK, I'll post one more time in response. When a thread becomes adversarial, there is no point in continuing. I can only make the same points over and over. As I said, I did study law for three years, and whilst it's a long time ago, I retain the ability to think through a case, and this is not an open and shut case of a seat problem.

In response to the post quoting a retired judge, he may be assuming that the seat rotated sufficiently far to pitch the occupants out, and we don't know that is what happened from the report in The nation and quoted in post # 1.

I've just had coffee with a practising barrister friend, showed her this thread, and her view is similar to mine, not enough information, but it's not a simplistic case of somebody being killed because the seat moved and making a claim that will be automatically met by the insurance company. It is not the opposite of what I originally said. I maintain that on the 'facts' as reported by The Nation and posted here, that it's almost impossible to make a call, but it's not as simple as the seat rotating.

Faulty equipment, whilst the responsibility of the operators, cannot be exhaustive. By their very nature, parts wear out, break, fail, and not all could be foreseen by the staff. Mistakes are made even by highly trained, experienced staff, and it doesn't necessarily make them incompetent or to blame under the law. By way of an example, few people know the difference between not guilty and innocent but there is a vast difference.

Compare a seat rotating, say, 20 degrees, with the elephant stepping in a hole/ditch and the whole animal causing the seat to rotate to the same angle? I don't need to go into any more detail.

On a completely different tack, I have seen cruelty to elephants a training camp north of Chiang Mai, a mahout belting the animal just above the foot with his hook. It was obviously hurting because the animal was reacting with every hit, and I don't like cruelty to animals in any form by anybody. I count parading an elephant through city streets to have tourists feed it bananas as cruelty, incidentally.

Edited by F4UCorsair
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Faulty equipment, whilst the responsibility of the operators, cannot be exhaustive. By their very nature, parts wear out, break, fail, and not all could be foreseen by the staff. Mistakes are made even by highly trained, experienced staff, and it doesn't necessarily make them incompetent or to blame under the law.

Your argument may well apply here in Thailand but I very much doubt it would in the west.....Yes parts wear out and fail but that is why you have regular inspections and maintenance programs. And yes even those do not always cover all eventualities...I never said they did. But as I've always said the operator/owner of the equipment or whatever it was that caused the accident would be insured and that insurance company would pay out. It is not just a matter of law it is a matter of responsibility. You charge somebody for a service..that service causes bodily harm..you have to take responsibility..that is why you have insurance....the insurance would pay....

please go back and read my post #78..you'll see I was talking insurance and not law.....

As a construction engineer in the UK every time we started a new place of construction we arranged masses of insurances to cover third party damages, work accidents etc. These were taken out to limit our responsibilities in case of an accident. A lot of these insurances were required by law. Because we knew in case of an accident we were responsible. We would not run away and try and blame faulty equipment etc. We would stand up and be MEN and take responsibility. But that does not seem to be the case in Thailand...always blame something else and if you can't do that then run away like chicken. And there seems little if any legal requirement for business owners to insure here.

I posed a hypothetical case to the one Thai tour operator who came on this forum to get his opinion. He has yet to reply......

On the elephant thing I agree with you....I understand it is now illegal for mahouts to bring their elephants downtown begging. As far as Pattaya is concerned I don't recall seeing it for maybe 5 years or more....But if you do see abuse who do you report it ot and do they listen....I have failed so far to get anyone to take notice of me when I tell them of the abuse my nieghbor subjects her dogs to. What did YOU do about the incident of abuse YOU witnessed?

Edited by KKK
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This will be my last post on this topic.

The only circumstances under which an insurance company would settle out of court would be if their advice was that they would lose in court, not may lose in court, but would lose in court. Even then they could conceivably string the case out for years. Their shareholders are more important than claimants, any time. You only have to see cases where civil action is taken after criminal proceedings have found a person guilty of something. Even then it does not automatically follow that damages are paid, UNLESS the damages are ordered as part of the criminal proceedings.

When a person insures against something, a condition of that policy, be it motor car insurance, through to professional negligence or public liability, is that the insured NEVER admits liability. It's not a case of 'manning up' because if you do, you may well find yourself uninsured because you were in breach of your policy conditions. Check your policy/ies. Insurance companies don't like paying. They're like professional organizations, the Australian Medical Association, for example. They are not there for the good of the public, but their members, which in an insurance company's case, is the shareholders.

Edited by F4UCorsair
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This will be my last post on this topic.

The only circumstances under which an insurance company would settle out of court would be if their advice was that they would lose in court, not may lose in court, but would lose in court. Even then they could conceivably string the case out for years. Their shareholders are more important than claimants, any time. You only have to see cases where civil action is taken after criminal proceedings have found a person guilty of something. Even then it does not automatically follow that damages are paid, UNLESS the damages are ordered as part of the criminal proceedings.

When a person insures against something, a condition of that policy, be it motor car insurance, through to professional negligence or public liability, is that the insured NEVER admits liability. It's not a case of 'manning up' because if you do, you may well find yourself uninsured because you were in breach of your policy conditions. Check your policy/ies. Insurance companies don't like paying. They're like professional organizations, the Australian Medical Association, for example. They are not there for the good of the public, but their members, which in an insurance company's case, is the shareholders.

I still think that in this case an insurance company would pay out..because no matter what the legal arguments would be the owner/operator of the elephant would have to take some responsibility in case of an accident. Insurance company would then increase its premiums. And I have never mentioned liability as that is a legal issue...I've only ever said responsibility...check your dictionary they are not the same....

The bad publicity that the insurance company would have to take if it refused to payout would far outweigh anything it paid.....

I do not expect you to reply..although it might be nice if you answered my last point about animal abuse.....

Edited by KKK
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Cowslip, I am not saying 20 degrees, or any figure, is safe and more is not. What I am saying is that on the 'facts' as reported, the wife lunged at the husband and the both went over the side as a consequence. I'm not being dogmatic about the position as you are. I do have some knowledge of how the law works, having studied law at university for three years before going flying for a living. That was 30+ years ago but principles of law don't change. What I am saying is that because the seat moved, that does not, in itself, dictate how the poor woman met her end. Even a not very smart barrister would punch holes in that proposition in the first five minutes.

I am not suggesting, as you are the opposite, that I am right and you are wrong, but I don't think any claim for compensation would be likely to get very far, even in a western country.

You are obviously far too uncritical when it comes to reading the media - there is no "report" as yet. Your ideas are based on mistaken assumptions...and it would see you either haven't read or don't understand my posts.

Cowslip, I have read and understand your posts, not difficult because they are rather simplistic, and you make reference to 'common sense'. You need only to walk down the street to know that 90% of people have none .

The 'report' to which I refer is that in the opening post, and it seems that is from the Nation newspaper. It is a newspaper report. I made no reference to any other report, e.g., police or coronial, so perhaps it is you who doesn't understand.

This issue has obviously become adversarial for you, so I will bow out. I wouldn't want you to become overexcited and have a heart attack. I would hate to be your wife or girl friend with an overbearing 'I am always right' attitude such as yours.

KKK, the only reason insurance companies settle out of court is to avoid legal costs in what is a case they feel, on advice, that they would inevitably lose. It's not as simple as somebody feeling they've been wronged, submitting a claim and being paid. The law is essentially about precedents, being established, and being over turned. Lawyers in a case such as this would look for similar 'accidents', how they played out, the amount of damages if negligence was proved, and an assessment would be made on whether it would be worth going to court.

Newsweird, once again, the loose seat cannot automatically be blamed as the cause of death unless it turned to a point where it actually evicted the people. We don't know that from the article/report (there's that word again cowslip). That the seat slipped can't necessarily blamed on poorly trained staff. It could, for example, have been due to faulty equipment. There is not enough in the report (Nation report) to determine anything in any detail. Recommendations to prevent future falls will come as a result of a coronial enquiry if one is held. If this went to court, a pivotal part of the case would be this: If the woman hadn't lunged/jumped to her husband, would the tilting of the seat alone have cause the people to be thrown out?

I find it astounding that there are so many who currently live in Thailand who seem to want to do nothing but pour <deleted> on everything Thai. You have choices.

" You need only to walk down the street to know that 90% of people have none . " - QED!

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Still amazes me how some people think these animals aren't abused/tortured they don't need to abuse the adults as they are taken from there mums at a young age tied to a tree and beaten senseless for 3 days it's called breaking the elephants spirit and scars the elephant mentally for life its not a pretty sight , pictures are available on google for those who don't think there is any harm in this.

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