JELI - Fellow villagers had warned rubber tapper Wan Mahmood Wan Noh to be careful when he ferried his wife and child on a motorcycle because a wild elephant was roaming the Kampung Bukit Perawas area.
A sudden encounter with the beast yesterday proved tragic when he lost his four-year-old son.
Little Wan Aidit Nasrullah was killed after the elephant rammed the motorcycle he was riding with his parents while on their way to tap rubber.
Recalling the morning tragedy, Wan Aidit's mother, Rezamawati Che Mat Bidin, 37, said her husband had braked and the motorcycle screeched to a stop when an elephant suddenly appeared in front of them.
"He then did a quick U-turn. The elephant charged and rammed the motorcycle.
"We were lucky that after we fell, the elephant rumbled away from us.
"My son was motionless. We quickly picked ourselves up and rode back to our house to take the car. We rushed Wan Aidit to the hospital," said Rezamawati, who suffered a broken rib, to reporters at the district Hospital here.
She added that Wan Aidit was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
"We should not have gone out to tap rubber after we were warned by neighbours about the presence of an elephant that had attacked another rubber tapper in our area," said the sobbing mother.
Wan Mahmood was unhurt in the incident.
The same elephant was believed to have attacked a fellow rubber tapper Hashim Yaacub, 67, at his rubber plantation earlier.
He was tapping rubber at 8.45am yesterday when he heard rustling among the bushes.
"All of a sudden, an elephant burst out of the bushes and pushed me to the ground with its head.
"I remained motionless as it started stepping on me. I felt pain on my ribs and was prepared to die. Suddenly, the elephant turned around and went off towards a nearby river, " said the grandfather of 13.
Hashim sustained broken ribs and was admitted to the hospital.
District police chief Deputy Supt Che Azhar Che Omar confirmed the incident, adding that the Wildlife and National Park rangers were hunting for the elephant.
Jeli MP Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad visited the homes of Wan Mahmood and Hashim. He pledged a sum of RM20,000 (S$7,600) from the National Disaster Fund for both families.