A film-maker was horrifically killed after his skull was crushed by a bull giraffe in an attack at the safari park used to film ITV’s popular Wild at Heart series.
Carlos Carvalho had worked on most of the series of the hit family drama that featured a British family building up an animal hospital in the South African bush.
But the 47-year-old was sent flying 16 feet through the air while working on a feature film with Gerald the Giraffe after the animal headbutted him, causing devastating head injuries.
He was airlifted from the scene in Broederstroom, South Africa, to the same hospital where British safari park owner Mike Hodge is recovering from a lion attack in Johannesburg but surgeons were unable to save him.
Drikus Van Der Merwe was part of the filming crew and said he was stood next to Carlos when he was attacked.
‘He started chasing the boom Player who joined our unit,’ he added. ‘The giraffe followed him but we didn’t feel threatened because he just seemed to be inquisitive.
‘We started shooting close ups of its body and its feet. Then while Carlos was looking through the camera eyepiece Gerald swung his neck and hit him against his head.
‘It came out of nowhere and Carlos didn’t even see it coming. He wasn’t aware of the danger.’
The tragedy happened at the popular 1,500-acre Glen Afric Country Lodge in Hartbeespoort which is 50 miles north the hospital he was flown to on Wednesday night.
Van Der Merwe said Carlos’s body lay lifeless on the ground until the on-set paramedic arrived.
‘I could see he was unconscious,’ he said. ‘There was blood coming out of his eyes and ears so I knew he had a severe head trauma. But I never thought he would die.
‘Out of all the wild animals we have filmed I can’t believe a giraffe killed Carlos. I suppose we get so used to filming animals that we become desensitised in a way.’