Woman Trampled to Death by Elephant, Days Later a Familiar Pachyderm Appears at the Funeral

An elephant in India crushed a woman to death in Raipal, Odisha. The animal then added insult to injury by crashing the 70-year-old woman’s funeral to trample her a second time.

Maya Murmu was on her way to fetch some water from a well in Raipal, Mayurbhanj District, on June 9, when she noticed a herd of elephants coming her way, the Times of India reported.

The woman attempted to flee the herd. However, one elephant chased after Murmu and trampled her.

Authorities believe the pachyderm had escaped from the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located approximately 123 miles away, according to the Press Trust of India. 

Locals rushed to where Murmu lay wounded and hurried her to a nearby medical college hospital. Unfortunately, Murmu died on the way because of her wounds, according to the Times of India.

Following Murmu’s demise, friends and family organized a funeral pyre to cremate her, in line with Hindu tradition. But just as they were carrying out the final rites over the woman’s corpse, a group of uninvited guests showed up.

It was a herd of elephants. There were about 12 animals in the pack, the Times of India reported. Noticing the massive animals heading their way, locals fled the scene, leaving behind Murmu’s body on the funeral pyre.

“We were terrified after witnessing the elephant herd on Thursday evening. We have never had such a ferocious elephant bunch earlier,” a local told the newspaper.

One of the elephants trampled Murmu’s body. The herd also attacked Murmu’s house and those of those her neighbors.

Afraid of the animals, locals delayed the funeral to Friday morning, the Times of India reported.

“We have taken steps to provide compensation of Rs 4 lakh [$5,131] to the next of kin of the deceased,” Rabi Narayan Mohanty, the Assistant Conservator of Forests for Baripada, said, according to the Times of India.

“Initially, we will release Rs 10,000 [$128.19] for funeral and related rituals from the compensation amount. After the family members apply for house damage assistance, we will start the process for this,” Mohanty added, according to the newspaper.

Elephants in India have killed around 3,300 people in encounters with humans between 2014-2021, according to data from Indian authorities, The National reported.

Six hundred of these people were from Odisha, which had the largest share of deaths by elephant attacks in all of India’s 28 states, the outlet reported, citing government data.

According to data from the World Wildlife Fund, approximately 100 people per year lose their lives in India due to elephant attacks. The number can go up to 300 per year, according to World Wildlife Fund data, The Daily Mail reported.

Local authorities have taken measures such as attaching radio tags to the animals and warning locals via text of potential encounters to prevent elephant-on-human attacks, The Daily Mail reported.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.