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Saturday, 20 October, 2001, 20:15 GMT 21:15 UK
Elephant keeper killed by charge
Jim Robson bathing Layang-Layang, a Malaysian elephant
Jim Robson bathing Layang-Layang, one of three elephants he tended
A keeper at London Zoo has died after being crushed by an elephant.

Jim Robson, who was 44, is believed to have tripped and fallen in the elephant paddock.

One of the three elephants he looked after then stepped on him.

The accident took place on Saturday afternoon, as visitors walked around the enclosure.


Everyone at London Zoo is devastated and deeply saddened by today's events and will miss him greatly and all our thoughts are with Jim's family

London Zoo
Colleagues rushed to help, followed by the emergency services.

Mr Robson was flown to the Royal Free Hospital by helicopter but died soon afterwards from multiple injuries.

London Zoo paid tribute to the senior elephant keeper.

"Jim, 44, was an experienced and dedicated elephant keeper who had worked at the zoo for 26 years (16 of which were working with elephants)," said a statement.

"Everyone at London Zoo is devastated and deeply saddened by today's events and will miss him greatly and all our thoughts are with Jim's family."

Full investigation

A full internal investigation into the incident will be held, said the zoo, but it was too early to decide the fate of the elephant.

Mr Robson, who was unmarried and had no children, looked after three female Asian elephants, Dilberta, Mya and Layang-Layang.

He is the third zoo keeper to have been killed by an elephant in the past two years.

Darren Cockrill, aged 27, suffered head injuries when a female elephant attacked him at Port Lympne Zoo near Hythe, Kent, last February.

And in February this year, a senior keeper at Chester Zoo died after being butted by a four-ton Asian elephant.

As a mark of respect, London Zoo will be closed to visitors on Sunday.

See also:

09 Oct 01 | England
Killer elephant put down
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