A British tourist was seriously injured on both legs yesterday after being gored by a water buffalo while walking through a forest to visit a beach on Koh Rong Samloem.
Nop Panha, deputy police chief of Preah Sihanouk province, said military forces on the island reported that the water buffalo butted the woman, injuring both her legs.
“We are cooperating with the military forces stationed on Koh Rong Samloem to search for it as right now because it is still hiding in the forest. The victim was a British woman. She was seriously injured and sent to hospital in Sihanoukville,” he said.
The victim was identified as Fiona Childs, 47, according to a photo of her passport posted on the website of a local media outlet. Pictures posted to social media showed the victim lying on blood-stained wooden floorboards with gashes on both shins and the side of her right thigh.
Pol Phosda, chief of Sihanoukville police, said the water buffalo was found in the evening and the owner agreed to cover the victim’s medical expenses.
“Military forces found and caught the buffalo. It’s hard to punish the owner because it was unintentional and out of his control. Now he’s responsible for paying for the victim’s medical expenses and he’s also willing to let the forces put the animal down if necessary,” he said.
“Normally, foreign tourists are very curious about this animal. She probably got near it and ended up being butted like this. It’s hard to blame the owner because raising animals is part of their livelihood.”
Mr Phosda added there was also a case last year in which a water buffalo hit a foreign tourist in Sihanoukville after that tourist tried to touch it.