Korba: A couple and their four-year-old son were trampled to death by a herd of wild elephants in Surguja district of Chhattisgarh, officials said on Thursday.

The incident occurred on Wednesday evening when the victims, identified as Gautam Das (30), his wife Reena Das (28) and son Yuvraj, natives of Kanni village of the district, were returning home on a two-wheeler after some work from nearby Udaipur town, a forest official said.

“They apparently failed to notice the herd of pachyderms standing by the roadside near Mohanpur village in Udaipur forest range, as it was dark, and before they could escape, one of the jumbos charged towards them and attacked them with its trunk,” he said.

After the trio fell from their vehicle, the elephants crushed them to death, he added.

Soon after being alerted, forest personnel were rushed to the spot at night and they chased away the herd from the spot. After that, the bodies of the victims were sent for post-mortem, he said.

Surguja, a neighbouring district of Korba, is located around 300 km away from capital Raipur.

An instant relief amount of Rs 25,000 has been given to the kin for each deceased, while the remaining cumulative compensation of Rs 17.25 lakh will be paid after the completion of necessary formalities, he said.

A herd of seven elephants has been spotted roaming in the area over the last few days and locals have been alerted not to venture inside the forest and travel during night, the official said.

Several incidents of human-elephant conflict have been reported in the past from the thick forested northern Chhattisgarh, comprising Surguja, Surajpur, Korba, Raigarh, Jashpur, Balrampur and Korea districts. The region has witnessed several killings of villagers and widespread damage to houses and crops by rogue elephants.

As per the government records, 204 people were killed in elephant attacks, while 45 jumbos died in the state between 2018 and 2020.

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