Family left terrified after their car is rammed and damaged by charging RHINO at West Midlands Safari Park
A family have told how they were left fearing for their lives after their car was rammed and badly damaged at a safari park – by a pair of fighting RHINOS.
Stuart Hall, 46, and wife Marie, 36, were enjoying a day out with their daughters Alexi, four, and Isabella, nine, when the two-tonne beasts charged at them on July 17.
The impact of the huge animals twice smashing into their Volvo XC60 sent little Isabella flying across the back of the 4×4.
Rangers at West Midlands Safari Park, in Bewdley, Worcs., rushed to their aid and blocked off the rampaging rhinos with their Land Rovers before escorting the family away.
Stuart, who lives with insurance claims handler Marie in Hodge Hill, Birmingham, said the terrifying incident has caused over £4,000 worth of damage to his vehicle.
He added : “It was terrifying and I was thinking: ‘How do I get us out of this?’
“You do fear for your life because these are powerful animals that can do a lot of damage if they wanted to.
“The girls were screaming in the back. Isabella had taken her seatbelt off around the park and she went flying in the back.
“They came at the car twice, the keepers told us one was chasing the other one in an aggressive way and we just got caught up in the middle of it all really.
“One shunted the front drivers side and the other came round the side and banged the back. It all happened so quickly and the noise was defeaning.
“It was like being in a car crash. I thought if they come at us with their horns they could easily shatter the windows and get to us. I really feared for my family’s safety.
“The girls were traumatised by it all. They were still awake at midnight talking about it.
“The rangers came flying down in Land Rovers and blocked them off. They were really good and asked if we were OK.
“There is a huge dent in the front driver’s side, above the wheel arch. And there is a smash in the back, as well as big scratch marks down the side.
“It’s my company car, and luckily it is quite a big car.
“I’m not sure what the safari park are going to do about it, but I feel they have a duty of care, even though you enter at your own risk.
“I accept you may get a little scratch but don’t expect a rhino to charge at your car.”
Little Isabella added: “It was really scary and it felt like the rhinos nearly flipped the car over.
“There was two load bangs and the car shook a lot and I was very frightened.
“My friends at school don’t believe what happened.”
A spokeswoman for the safari park said she could not comment as it was still being investigated.
But a letter sent to removal firm worker Stuart said its terms and conditions stated it could not accept responsibility for any car damage caused by its animals.
His family was instead offered passes to the safari park “as a gesture of goodwill and without prejudice”.
Animals are free to roam large enclosures at the popular safari park and are viewed by drivers, who follow a trail in their cars.
Earlier this year, the attraction celebrated the birth of a southern white rhino Ekozu- the first born at the attraction in a decade.