Elephants Escape Circus in Missouri, Damage Parked Vehicles

Monday, 24 Mar 2014 07:43 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Elephants escaped from their circus trainers in Missouri on Saturday, leading to several cars being damaged in an adjacent parking lot. No injuries were reported.

The incident occurred in St. Charles, Mo., about 25 miles northwest of St. Louis, and involved the Shrine Circus. Handlers were eventually able to corral the three elephants, which had apparently broken free from a nearby enclosure after loud noises from circus goers spooked them, CNN affiliate KSDK reported.

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"Things started shaking, when I looked up I saw three elephants coming toward us," Sally Schmiz, a witness to the event, told KMOV.com. "These huge elephants literally went through these huge RVs. Then they went through two trucks breaking mirrors off, and panels off and breaking the windows."

Karyin Tunnicliff and her daughter Allie also witnessed the elephants escape as they were pulling into the parking lot when they saw handlers attempting to regain control of the situation.

"Oh my God, Allie turn around real quick. There’s the elephants," Tunnicliff recalled telling her daughter in an interview with ABC News. "Then we saw a bunch of people running after them yelling stop, stop. Their trainers were just … panicked."

"It’s something you would read in a book, not something you would expect to witness," Tunnicliff added. "I’m still surprised it happened."

Despite the damage done to the vehicles, the elephants sustained only minor scratches as a result of the ordeal and did not have their performance schedule interrupted later that night. But the elephants did receive a break later that evening, ABC News noted.

"The elephants were loose for a brief period," Dennis Kelley, President of Moolah Shriners Circus, said in a statement. "The handlers were able to occupy the animals and they are resting comfortably at this time."

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