An American couple on vacation in Thailand did something they always wanted to do: ride an elephant. But it went horribly wrong when their guide was knocked off the five-ton animal, which then took off with the couple holding on for dear life.
Nicole Siri and Mark Martin, who live in Utah, captured everything on video and shared their harrowing incident exclusively with Inside Edition.
The couple sat in a carriage on an elephant’s back 10 feet off the ground as their guide sat in front of them on top of the elephant.
Martin says the first sign of trouble came when the guide whipped the elephant and the animal got angry and knocked the guide off its back. Siri and Martin were left alone atop the elephant and their guide tried to catch up to them on foot. The couple, who had been dating for a year, stayed calm and so did the elephant.
“We can’t control the elephant. We don’t know any command words,” Martin says. “We rode it for about a half-hour without the guide on it.”
But on the edge of a cliff, the elephant started to move faster. The animal made its way back to the village, where locals tossed bananas and sugarcane hoping the elephant would stop, but it kept going and started its rampage.
The elephant knocked over a man on a motorbike and then crushed the bike. “So Mark said, ‘okay we’re jumping right’ and I was like ‘we’re jumping,’” Siri says. Video that was being taken by the couple went to black as they leaped off the rogue elephant.
“He just takes his trunk and his head just starts crushing me into the ground,” Martin says. “I heard bones breaking.”
Martin was left with a broken back and shattered pelvis. Siri broke her back. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help aid Siri and Martin’s journey towards recovery.
Doctors in Thailand told the couple they would be hospitalized for months, but a friend arranged for Siri and Martin to be medevacked back to Utah, a 20-hour flight. The couple is healing at home, lucky to be alive.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW: