A 58-year-old former dean at the University of California at San Diego was killed during a luxury safari in Tanzania after he fell in the path of stampeding elephants — 50 of them — and grieving colleagues at the college say they’re shocked, to say the least.
Dr. Thomas McAfee was at Tarangire National Park with two companions and came across a herd of about 50 elephants, The Daily Mail reported. The three tried to run, but Dr. McAfee fell and was trampled beneath one of the beasts. He was taken to a nearby medical facility but died this weekend during treatment, said Manyara Regional Police Commander Mussa Marambo to the local newspaper, The Citizen.
Dr. McAfee was about to start a new position heading up the Keck Medicine at USC Medical Foundation, The Daily Mail said. And his sudden death is a huge shock to those who worked with him at UC San Diego. Debra Kain, director of Health Sciences Research Communications at the university, said the college community is reeling. And others said they’re planning various ways to remember Dr. McAfee.
“It’s a true tragedy and great loss to all of us at UCSD,” said Mounir Soliman, the assistant vice chancellor and executive director of Health Sciences International, in an email to NBC. “We are planning several events in celebration of Dr. McAfee’s life.”
Tarangire National Park spans 1,100 square miles and is home for 550 species.