Man killed by Kenyan hippo identified as Taiwanese

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HOLIDAY TRAGEDY:Another man was slightly injured in Saturday’s hippo attack, while the tour group was later involved in a traffic accident in Nairobi that injured 20 people

 

A tourist who died after being bitten by a hippopotamus in Kenya and was initially identified as Chinese, was a 66-year-old Taiwanese man, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

Chang Ming-chuan (張明川) and Wu Peng-te (吳鵬德), 62, were part of a tour group on a 11-day tour, and were on a bird-watching walk on Saturday evening near the shore of Lake Naivasha, when a hippo ran out of the lake and attacked them.

Chang was pronounced dead on arrival at the Naivasha District Hospital, while Wu suffered minor injuries in the incident, the Kenya Wildlife Service said on Sunday, adding that it was tracking the hippo.

The service had identified the men as Chinese.

They were on a tour organized by Crane Tour Travel (鶴悠旅行社), which was on its next-to-the-last day.

Crane Tour manager Hong Hui-mei (洪慧美) yesterday told a morning news conference in Taipei that Chang and Wu were walking on a trail by the lake and taking photographs of birds.

The group had not had close contact with any wildlife during the tour, and hippopotamuses generally appear at night to feed and rarely show up during the day, she said.

The agency has been arranging tours to Kenya for at least five years, but this was the first time a client had been attacked by a hippopotamus, she said.

The incident was simply an accident, she said.

The Star newspaper in Kenya quoted the head of a boat owners’ association in Navaisha as saying higher-than-normal water levels were causing hippos to wander from the lake to nearby farms and hotel properties searching for pasture.

However, the hippo attack was not the only accident suffered by the tour group.

The group had been scheduled to leave Kenya on a midnight flight from Nairobi on Sunday, but due to a flight delay, the agency arranged for the group’s members to stay at a nearby hotel, Hong said.

On the way to the hotel, the tour bus carrying the group was involved in a traffic accident, and 20 people were injured, some seriously, she said.

Three people who suffered severe injuries remain hospitalized in Nairobi, the Tourism Bureau said.

The rest of the group departed for Bangkok yesterday afternoon and are due to arrive in Taiwan this afternoon, it said.

Members of the tour group were all insured for the tour, and each is entitled to receive a maximum of NT$5 million from travel liability insurance and NT$200,000 travel accident insurance, Taipei Association of Travel Agents chairman Wu Chih-chien (吳志健) told the news conference.

In related news, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said Taiwan’s representative office in South Africa would send representatives to Kenya to deal with Chang’s death and those who were injured.

The Chinese embassy in Kenya said it had already sent officials to Lake Naivasha to help with the aftermath of the hippo attack.

“It is the unshakable duty of the Chinese government to provide consular protection services to Taiwanese compatriots,” Xinhua news agency quoted an embassy spokesman as saying.

“The Chinese embassy in Kenya will work closely with the Kenyan government to help evacuate the body of the victim, treat the wounded and handle the aftermath,” he said.

Additional reporting by CNA and Reuters

Tiapei Times

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