Sam Williams chased a giraffe away after it trampled on his wife, Katy, and son, Finn. Picture: Facebook
Sam Williams chased a giraffe away after it trampled on his wife, Katy, and son, Finn. Picture: Facebook

Mum, son fighting for life after giraffe attack

A BRITISH man confronted a giraffe as it trampled on his wife and three-year-old son in South Africa, leaving them both critically ill.

Dr Katy Williams, 35, and son Finn, 3, were "covered in blood" and have undergone surgery after they were trampled by the giraffe near their home on the Blyde Wildlife Estate near Hoedspruit after the unfortunate incident.

According to The Sun, Katy and her son Finn were only saved from the female giraffe when her husband, scientist Dr Sam Williams, arrived and drove the animal away.

Reports have indicated that the giraffe, who had a two-month-old calf with her, may have become startled by the family and tried to protect her baby.

The attack on the mother and son comes just months after a cameraman died while working on the British TV program Wild At Heart in South Africa after he was attacked by a giraffe.

 

Katy and Finn Williams are in critical condition after being trampled by a giraffe at a South African game reserve. Picture: Facebook
Katy and Finn Williams are in critical condition after being trampled by a giraffe at a South African game reserve. Picture: Facebook

Sam was reportedly returning home from work on Monday evening and saw his US-born wife and son unbeing attacked by the giraffe but was able to chase it off and save their lives.

Sam, a scientist who works alongside his wife on the reserve, then called for emergency services and the Hoedspruit Medical Rescue team raced to the scene.

Katy and Finn were waiting close to the family home for her husband to return from his daily jog in the hills on the nature reserve when they were trampled.

A source at the Blyde Wildlife Reserve told The Sun: "Sam often goes for a run after work and I was told Katy and Finn were waiting for him to come back when they surprised a giraffe.

"The giraffe was with a calf and attacked them very seriously. They were very badly injured and Katy was doing all she could to protect Finn but the giraffe just towered over them," the source told the newspaper.

 

A giraffe at the Blyde Wildlife Estate in South Africa. The Williams family was living at the reserve. Picture: Blyde Wildlife Estate
A giraffe at the Blyde Wildlife Estate in South Africa. The Williams family was living at the reserve. Picture: Blyde Wildlife Estate

"Sam was finishing his run and saw what was happening and managed to chase the giraffe off. His wife and child were covered in blood - you can imagine the trauma he felt."

Sam managed to get medical attention for them both and they were driven to an airfield where medical experts did the best they could until they were flown to Johannesburg.

"Everyone is crossing everything for the family - they are very well loved and everyone is shocked," the source told The Sun.

Sam Williams confirmed in an update through his lawyer on Thursday that several doctors had operated on his wife at Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital in Johannesburg.

Lawyer Marina Botha said: "The operation to attend to multiple injuries sustained during the attack from the giraffe was completed during the early hours of this morning.

"Dr Sam Williams would like to thank all doctors and medical personal from the hospital for their efforts to give his wife and son the best chance to heal.

 

Katy and Sam Williams, both scientists, worked in animal-related fields in South Africa. Picture: Facebook
Katy and Sam Williams, both scientists, worked in animal-related fields in South Africa. Picture: Facebook

"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" said the statement.

Ms Botha said Sam Williams regards the attack as an "unfortunate act of nature".

She said: "He understands the giraffe saw his wife as a threat to her young one," the lawyer said.

On Facebook, Katy's father Jack Standish said he felt "helpless" as his daughter and grandson are in hospital.

He said: "Please send all your prayers and love to Katy, Finn and Sam … Thank the hundreds if not thousands of loving people who have sent greetings of hope and prayers to me or my family.

"Thank you from a father who feels useless in not helping is wonderful daughter and loving Grandson."

The attack was reportedly just 100 metres from the home where the two scientists - with post PhD experience in animal-related fields - live and work on the reserve.

An emergency services spokesman who sent out two air ambulance helicopters confirmed both Katy and Finn had suffered "numerous serious injuries" and were taken to hospital in Johannesburg in a critical condition.

Finn was the first to be flown by helicopter to Busamed Modderfontein Hospital in Johannesburg and his mother then followed shortly in the second helicopter.

Giraffes can grow up to six metres tall. Picture: David Caird
Giraffes can grow up to six metres tall. Picture: David Caird

An operation was performed on Finn during the early hours of Tuesday morning to release pressure on his brain due to injuries sustained in the near deadly attack.

The manager of Blyde Wildlife Estate, Riaan Cilliers, confirmed the incident and said: "We are all in shock about this very sad incident and we ensure the family that they are in our prayers."

Mr Cilliers confirmed that the giraffe in question does have a two-month-old calf, which may have had an influence on her behaviour, with the mother and son startling her.

According to local media, the giraffe could be moved to a new reserve following the attack.

The family has asked the public and media to kindly respect their privacy during "this very difficult time".

Katy and Sam Williams are British scientists. Picture: Facebook
Katy and Sam Williams are British scientists. Picture: Facebook

Earlier this year at cameraman on British TV show Wild at Heart was killed by a giraffe as he filmed at the Glen Africa game reserve in Broederstroom in North West Province.

South African film maker Carlos Carvalho, 47, was knocked five metres through the air when the giraffe slammed into him with his neck, later dying of his injuries in hospital.

The TV series featuring a British family running an animal hospital in the African bush was filmed at Glen Africa for many years and Mr Carvalho had worked on most episodes.

The giraffe that killed him was said to have attacked others in the past.

Giraffes grow up to six metres tall, can weigh over 900kg and are the world's tallest mammal.

Males can become aggressive in mating season and females can be aggressive when protecting their young.

 

This story was originally published in The Sun and is reprinted with permission.



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