updated 10/2/2006 2:13:57 PM ET 2006-10-02T18:13:57

An elephant trampled and killed a British man on his honeymoon in Kenya, officials said Monday.

Patrick Smith, 34, was killed in front of his wife, Julie, in the Masai Mara National Reserve on Sunday, officials said. His wife managed to leap out of the way.

“He was trampled by an elephant while on a nature trail with his wife,” said Connie Maina, spokeswoman for the Kenya Wildlife Service. “This is a terrible accident.”

The couple had been married for just a week, Maina added.

Luxury lodge
They had arrived in Kenya for their honeymoon and were staying at the luxury Richard’s Camp lodge in the game reserve. The camp is on the edge of a forest in the Masai Mara conservation area, about 100 miles southwest of the capital, Nairobi.

The couple set out for their nature walk Sunday morning and were with a Masai guide just 330 yards outside the camp when the elephant attacked, Maina said.

“We think the elephant must have been at very close proximity to the couple and was surprised,” she said. “They don’t normally do this kind of thing. It is terrible. The wife saw what happened. I am told the wife is OK but is shaken up.”

Jake Grieves-Cook, chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board, said the elephant knocked over their guide but the wife escaped injury.

Tourist officials said the tented camp was closed for several days after the killing.

Kenya’s elephant population is estimated at 35,000, down from a peak of 167,000 in the 1970s due to rampant poaching.

According to Kenya’s Wildlife Service, the last tourist killed by an elephant in Kenya was in 2000. But there are frequent incidents between elephants and villagers in rural areas. In August, Kenyan officials shot dead a pair of rogue elephants who had killed four people in the north.

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