Woman who lived part-time in Arizona killed by elephant

Lindsey.Ragas@fox.com (Lindsey Ragas)
3 Min Read

A 79-year-old woman who lived part-time in Sun City, Arizona was killed by an elephant while on an African safari.

An elephant charged the vehicle she was in, which was filled with other tourists.

This, of course, is a very traumatic time for Gail Mattson’s family.

She has two kids. Her daughter says she loved to travel and had planned for this trip to be her last big vacation.

“She was actually going to turn 80 on July 2, and we were planning a big 80th birthday party for her,” her daughter Rona said.

Rona described her mother as a strong and healthy woman who enjoyed traveling.

Photo from Gail Mattson’s family

“This was kind of like her last bucket list item,” she said.

Gail died on Saturday, March 30 when she was attacked on an African safari in Zambia.

Rona says there were two drivers on the safari. One of them saw the elephant and thought it appeared aggressive.

“The first Jeep was able to get away, but the second Jeep wasn’t able to get away, and they got stopped by some vegetation, and they just couldn’t get out of there fast enough,” Rona explained. “I believe the elephant charged from a mile and a half away and charged straight up to the Jeep and took his husks and flipped the jeep over.”

Gail was on the trip with a friend also from Arizona. She told Rona what happened.

“She told me they rolled over to a tree, and they sat there, I believe, for a solid five minutes. She said they did not bat an eye. The elephant was right in front of them starting them down. She said she thought that he was probably going to kill them, but after 5 minutes she said, I think he just got bored and just wandered off,” Rona said.

It was then that the group realized Gail had died when the Jeep flipped over.

Rona says her mom will be known for working hard, traveling and having a zest for life.

“As tragic as this is, she really lived every minute of life and enjoyed it,” Rona said.

According to the news release from Wilderness, four other people were treated for minor injures. A fifth person was taken to a private medical facility in South Africa.

Gail also lived part-time in Minnesota.

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[email protected] (Lindsey Ragas) , www.fox10phoenix.com
Latest News | FOX 10 , 2024-04-05 05:13:42
Tags: Us,Az,News,World,Us,Mn

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