American tourist killed after elephant crashes truck on African safari ID’s Gail Mattson

World News

The American tourist killed by a loaded bull elephant that overturned their safari vehicle in Zambia over the weekend has been identified as a 79-year-old adventurous woman who wanted the trip to be her “last big adventure”.

Mattson, who was visiting from Minnesota, was photographed the day she was killed in the safari vehicle holding a flower, her grieving family told KSTP.

She was one of six Wilderness Zambia group tourists who were out on a game drive on Saturday in Kafue National Park when they were attacked by the angry animal.

Gail Mattson, 79, was killed on a safari in Zambia. Family leaflet
Gail Mattson is seen on safari. Family leaflet

Horrifying video footage shows the elephant following behind the safari vehicle moments before it charged the group, overturning the truck as the guide repeatedly screamed at the creature.

The passenger continues to record as the elephant reverses the vehicle.

The family told the newspaper that the US Embassy contacted them about her death.

This is the terrifying moment a crazed bull elephant attacked tourists on safari in Zambia, killing Mattson. @ginnydmm/X
The elephant is seen approaching the vehicle. @ginnydmm/X
Gail Mattson rode in the vehicle the day she was killed. Family leaflet

Loved ones described the 79-year-old as kind, adventurous and very active in her community.

“She had told us that this safari would be her last big adventure,” he said her friend John Longbauth. “Because her birthday is in the summer – I think she would have been 80 and she felt like she was starting to slow down. To be honest, I don’t know if she would slow down or not. But at least you won’t be traveling that far, surely.”

Mattson split her time between living in Minnesota and Arizona, her family said.

Her friends in Arizona held a memorial for her after her sudden death.

According to the Safari Company, another guest was injured and taken to a private medical facility.

The other four tourists on the trip were treated for minor injuries after the violent explosion.

The horrific incident unfolded around 9.30am on Saturday during a game drive through Kafue National Park, Wilderness Zambia CEO Keith Vincent said in a statement.

The management of Kafue National Park sent a helicopter to evacuate the victims.

“This is a tragic event and we extend our deepest condolences to the family of the guest who died. We are also, of course, supporting those guests and the guide involved in this disturbing incident,” Vincent said.

The first truck crashed after the elephant attack. Facebook

The group of tourists had been staying at the luxury Lufupa Camp in Kafue National Park, Africa’s largest game reserve.

The tour group is making arrangements to have Mattson’s body returned to the US.

Police and other authorities are investigating the incident.

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