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The man who stops charging seven ton elephants by raising his HAND: Safari guide halts raging beast and saves ...

The man who stops charging seven ton elephants by raising his HAND: Safari guide halts raging beast and saves …

A brave South African guide saved a honeymoon couple on a walking safari from being trampled to death when he stopped a charging bull elephant in its tracks.

Brett Larsen, 50, and his wife Lulu Shi, 39, had a terrifying ‘once in a lifetime experience’ on their honeymoon safari in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Mr Larsen, a property developer from New Zealand, and his artist wife had decided to do one final walking safari to end their week-long honeymoon.

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Saving the day: This is the moment when safari guide Dean Oellofse stops a charging elephant in its tracks in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

The pair set off from The Outpost Lodge in the northern part of Kruger National Park with two guides, Dean Oellofse and Phanny Risimati, on the last day of the trip last Monday.

After a 90-minute walk, the group came upon a large bull elephant on a hill, but as they stopped to admire the beast – it charged at them.

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Dramatic video footage filmed by Ms Shi shows the raging animal running towards them as they stand hiding behind a tree.

In the right corner of the video Mr Oellofse can be seen stepping out, raising his hand an yelling something in Afrikaans at the elephant.

Amazingly, as if somehow understanding Mr Oellofse’s command, the bull elephant stops in its tracks.

Mr Larsen said the elephant tried coming at them a total of three times, and every time, Mr Oellofse’s calm and firm communication with the animal made it rethink.

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Life comes at you fast: Brett Larsen, 50, and wife Lulu Shi, 39, found themselves under attack from an angry bull elephant while on a walking safari

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Hero: The essence of calm according to Mr Larsen, Mr Oellofse held up his hand and shouted ‘Whoa’ to the elephant, which stopped in its tracks


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Abort mission: A visibly miffed elephant was then seen throwing sand around before walking off from the couple and their guides

‘We’d been very lucky on our first walking safari soon after we arrived when we saw lion, leopard and hyena and found it so exhilarating that we wanted to do it again on our last day,’ Mr Larsen explains.

‘But we could never have imagined how it would turn out. Fortunately the guides had drilled it into our heads that if anything happens, don’t run, don’t run!

‘After about an hour-and-a-half we came out of forest and looked up and about 100 metres away saw an elephant at the top of a little hill.


‘We stopped immediately admired it and then suddenly it charged us.’

Mr Larsen continued: ‘Dean our lead guide said, ‘Don’t move!’, so we stood there frozen in terror as the elephant charged down the hill at us.

‘ I’m a pretty calm person. I don’t yell and scream in a car crash.

But I was scared to death.

‘Straight away Dean had moved forward and become the target.

He put his arm up and yelled ‘Whoooa!’ and about 10 metres away the elephant stopped dead in its tracks. 

‘It was unbelievable.

It looked like something out of a cartoon. His front feet dug into the ground in a cloud of dust.

I could not believe what I was seeing.

‘With his right arm raised Dean was loudly commanding the elephant and it backed off.

It was surreal. And what impressed me is that Dean didn’t raise his rifle once.


‘He was as cool a cucumber confronting a charging bull that looked really mad with us. 


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Calm before the storm: Ms Shi poses with guides Phanny Risimati, left, and Mr Oellofse, right, in Kruger National Park

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Out and about: Video filmed by Mr Larson shows the group trudging through grass before their encounter with the angry elephant 

‘This bloke stepped up to the mark and without hesitation and no fear put his body on the line and took control.

‘The elephant charged twice more and again and again Dean stopped it in its tracks.

‘After the first charge Lulu and I backed up slowly with the other guide to a nearby tree.


‘And as soon as we got to it the elephant charged again. You could see it was angry and meant business.

‘After the third time the elephant moved off and all I could think of then was get us out of here.

‘I watched it, relieved, and thought I looked like a child stomping off because Dean hadn’t let it get its own way.


‘It was flapping its ears and throwing sand over its back. I think it was really cheesed off.

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Dream honeymoon: The couple had spent a week at The Outpost Lodge in the northern part of Kruger National Park


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Happy ending: The newly married couple pose at sunset in Kruger Park

‘I’ve got to give my wife credit that she didn’t panic and run and even managed to video the action. 

‘Mind you I was so rooted to the spot in fear that I probably couldn’t have run even if I had wanted to.

‘It was an incredible experience. I’ve travelled a lot and that was my lifetime experience.

I don’t like living in the past so I absolutely loved it.

‘After that I put Dean on a pedestal.

He was incredible. He saved our lives.

He had a rifle but I don’t reckon he would have been able to shoot it in time because that elephant was almost on top of us. I was certain it would’ve run us over.

‘I couldn’t stop thanking him for the amazing experience. What a way to end our honeymoon.

Mr Larsen said he was sharing the amazing footage to give Dean all the credit he deserved. ‘Dean showed nerves of steel.

The All Blacks [the New Zealand national rugby team] would be proud of him.

The only time I saw him show any effect was when we got back to the game drive vehicle he needed something stronger than a cup of coffee.


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