US Scientist, Young Son Trampled by Giraffe

Both in 'critical but stable condition' in South Africa
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2018 6:31 AM CDT
US Scientist, Son Badly Injured in Giraffe Attack
Giraffes nuzzle at the Philadelphia Zoo on July 26, 2018.   (David Maialetti /The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

An American scientist and her 3-year-old son are in critical condition after they were attacked by a giraffe near their home in South Africa. Katy Williams, 35, and her 3-year-old son Finn were 450 feet from their home in Blyde Wildlife Estate near the town of Hoedspruit when they surprised a female giraffe with a two-month-old calf around 6pm Monday. Returning from a trail run, 36-year-old British scientist Sam Williams found his wife and son being trampled and was able to chase the giraffe away, the family's lawyer tells the Guardian. A source at the Blyde Wildlife Estate describes the pair as "very badly injured" and "covered in blood," per the Sun. "You can imagine the trauma [Sam] felt."

Airlifted to a Johannesburg hospital, Finn underwent surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain and may have brain damage, a relative tells the Sun. His mother underwent an "operation to attend to multiple injuries" early Thursday, the lawyer says in a statement. "Both mother and son are still in a critical but stable condition. The family said that they have decided to take one day at a time and to remain positive." Sam Williams—who, like his wife, has post-PhD experience in an animal-related field—"understands the giraffe saw his wife as a threat to her young one" and regards the attack as an "unfortunate act of nature," the statement adds. (A giraffe killed a South African film director this year.)

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