- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2005

SEOUL (Agence France-Presse) — Six elephants that escaped from a children’s circus yesterday trampled property and trashed a restaurant as panicked residents looked on, police said.

One woman needed treatment for a head wound after she was bowled over by an elephant’s trunk, witnesses said.

The elephants suddenly fled in the middle of a performance during which they were marching around the circus ring before hundreds of spectators at a children’s park in northeastern Seoul, where they perform five times a day.

Local resident Lee Hye-Ja, 64, said she was chatting with another woman, Noh In-Soon, 52, in the street when “suddenly, an elephant appeared from nowhere and pushed her with its trunk. She fell to the ground, and I jumped to flee the scene.”

The elephant roamed through alleys, then ran amok in the courtyard of a house, destroying a garage door and trampling garden plants.

The elephant was lured away by emergency rescuers, who soothed her with food.

Three other elephants were being herded back into their cages when they turned tail and fled again. They turned up at a nearby restaurant.

“I saw these jumbos barge through the door. They started overturning tables and throwing chairs. It was so scary. I hid inside a closet,” a waitress said.

Two others lumbered down neighborhood streets, snarling traffic and alarming pedestrians.

“Five elephants have so far been detained, but one is still on the run. The five are now being taken back to their homes by emergency rescuers,” a police officer told Agence France-Presse by phone.

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