18 Apr 2013

Fatigue a factor in crushed keeper's death

3:22 pm on 18 April 2013

Fatigue caused by working long hours is one of the reasons a zookeeper was crushed to death by an elephant, according to a coroner.

Helen Schofield was killed by the former circus elephant Mila at the Franklin Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary in Tuakau, near Auckland, on 25 April last year.

The 42-year-old vet was the elephant's keeper and the zoo's sole director.

The coroner's report says Dr Schofield was tired from working long hours over many months.

It says she died from multiple chest and abdomen injuries caused by the elephant.

The report outlines how Dr Schofield was in the enclosure when the animal appears to have been shocked by an electric fence.

The vet then slipped while trying to get out and the elephant grabbed her with its trunk.