msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 4/9/2010 8:15:53 PM ET 2010-04-10T00:15:53

An animal trainer died Friday after being kicked by an elephant at a circus.

The accident happened about 5 p.m. at the Irem Shrine Circus in Wilkes-Barre.

Wilkes-Barre Police Lt. Steven Olshefski said the elephant was somehow startled and kicked the trainer, who died at the scene. The trainer was thrown about 20 feet, WNEP reported.

The accident happened when the circus wasn't open, and the elephant was in a secure area. Police said other trainers rushed to the area and were able to calm the elephant, and the public was never at risk.

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