Local News

Raleigh woman suffers serious injuries in giraffe attack

Posted March 24, 2016

— A Raleigh woman on safari in Zambia was injured Friday as she walked near her hotel, her husband said.

Carla and Don Berryann were on a two-week long safari earlier this month. They were at their hotel, near Victoria Falls, when the giraffe attacked.

"It came out of the trees at us, it pursued us," said Don Berryann in a FaceTime interview. "As we learned not to run, we walked away quickly and the giraffe stepped between us, separating my wife and myself."

He said his wife went behind a bush to distance herself from the animal when the animal swung its neck.

"The giraffe swung its neck and head butted her, breaking her arm, nine ribs and puncturing her lung," Berryann said.

Berryann said his wife was knocked about 12 feet into the air and landed in a thorn bush. She was taken by a medical helicopter to a Johannesburg hospital.

"It was just very surreal, the whole experience," Don Berryann said. "We couldn't figure out how to get away from the giraffe. We knew we were not supposed to run, and I keep replaying it in my mind."

Because of the damage to her lungs, Carla Berryann cannot fly. The couple will remain in Johannesburg for a few weeks until she is strong enough to make the 17-hour flight back to the U.S.

Don Berryann said the locals told him the particular giraffe had attacked three people in the last two months.

The couple had purchased travel insurance, and that policy is covering the unexpected medical costs.


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  • Edward Anderson Mar 25, 2016
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    Lucky for them that they purchased vacation insurance! Too bad that they had such an experience, but they'll have an unforgettable memory of their vacation.

  • Fanny Chmelar Mar 25, 2016
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    "Berryann said his wife was knocked about 12 feet into the air and landed in a thorn bush."
    Jesus Christ! Bad vacation.

  • Ed Livesay Mar 25, 2016
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    Beastie would make a fine rug!

  • Hessian Diesel Mar 24, 2016
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    I see a Stone Phillips investigative report deal in this....maybe even Chris Handsome (I know his name is Hansen but I calls him Handsome) "Hi there....why don't you have a seat?"