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This is the second killing by an elephant in a week. Another mahout was killed in Phang Nga on Sunday (November 16). Two tourists aboard that elephant spent a tense 30 minutes before the elephant, hit by tranqilliser darts, calmed down enough for them to be taken off.
Lt Col Jamroon Plaiduang of Chalong Police told The Phuket News that Mr Wittawat was drunk and annoyed the elephant, which picked him up in its trunk, flung him to the ground and then him.
The elephant, named Por, also 22 years old, had been chained because he was in musth, a condition in which male elephants can become unpredictable and aggressive, and are normally keept away from people and other elephants.
But the owners felt that he had been chained long enough and told Wittawat to release him and get him ready for work.
Somehow Wittawat infuriated the giant animal, leading him to attack.
No tourists were involved