Elderly American woman dies after being attacked by elephant in Zambia

An elephant in a national park in Zambia killed an elderly American woman after it mounted a passenger car.

The “aggressive” creature buffeted a vehicle carrying six tourists and a guide, the tour operator, Wilderness, said in a statement on Tuesday. It said the 80-year-old victim died after Saturday's incident on a game drive in Kafue National Park in western Zambia.

A video circulating on social media shows the incident showing a large elephant running towards a car, which slows down as it approaches on its left side. The elephant then overturns the vehicle and passengers are heard gasping as the car rolls.

NBC News did not know the condition or identity of the person who shot the video.

Photos shared online of the car, emblazoned with the tour operator's logo, showed it leaning on its side after the incident, with deep dents on two of its side doors.

Wilderness, which describes itself as a “leading conservation and hospitality company” operating in eight African countries, including Zambia, did not respond to NBC News when asked to confirm the authenticity of the video and photos.

But the tour operator's CEO, Keith Vincent, said in a statement that the company's “guides are all very well trained and experienced.”

“Unfortunately in this instance the terrain and vegetation blocked the guide's path and he was unable to quickly move the vehicle out of harm's way,” he added.

Gail Madson. Rona Wells via Facebook

The company did not name the victim, but her daughter, Rhona Wells, identified her as Gayle Madsen in a post on Facebook. He said his mother died in a tragic accident while on his dream adventure.

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NBC News has reached out to the family for further comment.

Another female guest was also injured in the incident and taken to a medical facility in South Africa, while four others were treated for minor injuries, the forest department said.

The exact cause of Madsen's death is unclear, but the agency said his body will be returned to his family in the United States with the support of local Zambian authorities and the US Embassy in the capital, Lusaka.

“This is a sad incident and we offer our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased guest,” the statement added.

Kafue National Park is Zambia's largest and oldest national park, covering more than 8,000 square miles, according to the park's website. Vast areas of the park remain unexplored, and the website says it is home to a variety of untamed wildlife.

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