independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Briton killed by elephant in India

The Foreign Office confirmed a British national has been killed in southern India

A retired teacher has been trampled to death by an elephant in India.

Colin Manvell, of Havant, Hampshire, died at the Masinagudi National Park in the state of Tamil Nadu, although conflicting reports have emerged about the moments leading up to his death.

He was killed after failing to hear guides and other tourists shout warnings to him as the elephant approached during a trek, it was reported. Other accounts claimed he was engrossed in his photography and did not hear two other elephants charge at him from behind.

The Foreign Office confirmed the death, saying: "We are aware of the tragic death of a British national in southern India and we are providing consular assistance at this difficult time."

The 67-year-old is understood to have been a retired geography teacher at Warblington School in Havant, having worked there between 1988 and 1998. He also worked at the Avenue Tennis and Squash Club in the town.

Warblington School head Julia Vincent said: "Mr Manvell retired from head of geography at Warblington School a number of years ago. Although I did not know him personally, he was well-known to the school community and has kindly donated a trophy for academic achievement in geography. We were saddened to hear of this tragic accident and our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family at this sad time."

Paula Fuge, personnel manager for Portsmouth Tennis Academy, who has been involved with Mr Manvell in the local tennis scene for more than 20 years, said: "He was a lovely guy. He has always been a part of the tennis scene, he's really nice, he was always there for the kids. I didn't believe it when I heard what had happened, you never expect that to happen."

An inspector at Masinagudi police station told the Times of India that officers had not yet inspected the area where the man was killed. He said: "We will be able to ascertain whether the place is a reserve forest area or social forestry area only after we inspect the spot where the unfortunate incident happened. We will inspect the place overnight and will register a case accordingly."

Local guides sought help from the nearby Sagadevan resort, where Mr Manvell was staying. He was treated at the local Masinagudi hospital before being transferred to Gudalur Government Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead, The Times reported.

Mr Manvell joined Warblington School in 1988 and it is believed that he retired in 1998. Headteacher Julia Vincent said: "Mr Manvell retired from head of geography at Warblington School a number of years ago. Although I did not know him personally, he was well-known to the school community and has kindly donated a trophy for academic achievement in geography. We were saddened to hear of this tragic accident and our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family at this sad time."

Press Association

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