Elephants loose on Spanish motorway after circus lorry overturns

 One elephant died and several others ended up loose on a Spanish motorway on Monday after the circus lorry they were in overturned.

Police had to close the A30 in Pozo Canada near Albacete south east of Madrid after the extraordinary crash.

Motorists filmed the animals strolling towards waste ground and feeding by the side of the road.

The dead animal was removed from a ditch by the side of the motorway where its body ended up following the drama around 4pm.

Motorists in Spain were treated to the extraordinary sight of elephants grazing by the side of the road after a circus lorry carrying at least five of the animals overturnedCredit:

Police released pictures of the elephants appearing to feed on grass by crash barriers before being led to a safer area.

They revealed, in a tweet: "The A30 has been closed because a lorry has overturned. Elephants are loose on the tarmac.

"The motorway has been closed around the Pozo Canada area heading towards Murcia."

The accident is believed to have happened after the HGV they were in overtook another vehicle and the driver lost control as he headed back into the slow lane.

One of the elephants – pictured lying in a ditch by the roadside after the crash – died, but the other elephants – and the lorry driver – survived unharmedCredit:

Spain’s Road Safety Authority the DGT confirmed one of the elephants had died in the incident.

Four other animals escaped the crash with their lives along with the driver of the vehicle.

Two of the four-legged survivors are said to have suffered injuries although it was not immediately clear how serious they were.

DGT spokesman Gregorio Serrano said: "The elephants injured in the accident that has happened in Albacete are being assisted and removed.

"Of the five animals one has died and two have been injured. Shortly the A30 will be reopened."

The crash happened on the A30 near the city of AlbaceteCredit:

One stunned motorist, who filmed the animals wandering around on the tarmac seconds after the accident, said in a running commentary over his home-made video: "Accident on the A30 motorway near Albacete.

"A circus lorry has overturned. Four elephants are loose and one looks in a very bad way. I’m not sure if it’s dead or not."

Silvia Barquero, the president of Spanish animal welfare political party PACMA, said the animals belonged to the Gottani Circus, which has performed several shows in the area over Easter.

She tweeted: "The lorry that has overturned was carrying Circo Gottani elephants. Show them more kindness. We treat animals like slaves. Enough of circuses that use animals."

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There was no immediate response from the circus owners.

Civil Guard officers will now send a report on the accident to a local investigating judge who will be tasked with a routine probe into the incident.

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