A Spanish tourist met a tragic end when he was trampled by an elephant after exiting his vehicle to capture images of a small group of elephants at a well-known South African park, authorities reported on Tuesday.

The incident occurred on Sunday morning at the Pilanesberg National Park, a popular tourist destination located approximately 200 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg. The victim, a 43-year-old man, was touring the reserve with his fiancée and two women in their own vehicle when they encountered three adult elephants and three calves, according to park officials.

Police stated that the man halted the vehicle, stepped out, and approached the elephants to take photographs. Police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone explained, "The elephants reportedly attacked and killed him." Pieter Nel, the chief conservation officer at the North West province's Parks and Tourism Board, noted that the matriarch of the herd attacked after becoming agitated by the tourist's approach. Nel emphasized that it is typical for elephants to defend their young.

"Many tourists underestimate the risks and fail to grasp how perilous these animals can be," Nel commented. Both Nel and Mokgwabone confirmed that the man was from Spain, and his companions, all residents of Johannesburg, were uninjured. An investigation has been initiated by the police. Elephant attacks are a recurring issue in the area; in 2021, a suspected poacher was killed by elephants in the Kruger National Park. In Zimbabwe, neighboring South Africa, 50 people were killed and 85 injured by wild animals, predominantly elephants, in the previous year, according to local authorities.

Pilanesberg and other South African parks advise visitors to keep their windows closed and refrain from exiting their vehicles while driving through the reserves.