News World Runaway elephant injures 18 at Sri Lanka pageant

Runaway elephant injures 18 at Sri Lanka pageant

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An elephant involved in a Buddhist pageant in Sri Lanka has run amok, injuring at least 18 people.

Privately owned Derana Television aired footage of Saturday night’s pageant in Kotte, near Sri Lanka’s capital.

The procession began after a government minister placed a sacred relic on a decorated casket atop an elephant adorned with shiny red clothing.

A few minutes later, another elephant runs forward, prompting terrified people to scatter. Some of them run into the elephant that is walking at the front of the procession.

The elephant that was hit becomes violent and runs, pushing onlookers. A man riding on the elephant falls off and narrowly escapes being trampled.

Officials from two hospitals said 18 injured people were brought in and 16 have been discharged.

Ornately decorated elephants are a major attraction in Sri Lankan Buddhist pageants.

Wealthy families own captive elephants as a symbol of their prosperity, pride and nobility and send their elephants to participate in pageants around the country.

Some Buddhist temples also own elephants.