'It came out of nowhere': Wild giraffe kills director
A SOUTH African movie director was killed after being hit by a giraffe while shooting close-ups of the wild animal at a South African game farm.
Carlos Carvalho, 47, was shooting scenes at a British expat's game farm when the giraffe, called Gerald, swung its neck - hitting him on his head and sending him flying, The Sun reported.
Witnesses recounting the devastating tragedy that unfolded on Wednesday.
Focus puller Drikus van der Merwe said: "I was standing right next to Carlos when the giraffe suddenly swung its neck and hit him on his head above his ear and sent him flying about four or five metres through the air."
He said that the animal had initially seemed to be "inquisitive", with the crew shooting close ups of its body and feet.
He added: "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."
A stunned Mr Van der Merwe said he unwittingly captured the last photos of Mr Carvalho alive, taking a photograph for the 47-year-old's family.
He said: "About five minutes before he got hit Carlos gave me his phone and asked me to take some photos of him on the rig for his kids.
"He was talking so highly of them and his wife. I feel so sorry for them."
The film crew had been at Glen Afric, a North West Province game farm where tourists can view and pet wild animals, to capture footage for a German movie Premium Nanny 2.
Mr Carvalho, who has won a number of awards including a Silver Lion at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003 for a public service announcement for Childline and a 2014 African Movie Academy Cinematography Award, was flown to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, but died about 9pm on Wednesday.
The South African game farm he was at is located in Broederstroom, 64km from Johannesburg.
Better known in the movie business as Brookers Farm, it has also been a popular filming location for hundreds of international movie and TV shoots for the last 40 years.
It is best known in the UK as the location for the ITV series Wild At Heart.
The show ran for seven series from January 2006 to December 2012.
Glen Afric spokesperson Jenny said that Carvalho had ignored safety instructions not to approach the animal, saying: "He was unauthorised to film. He went off on his own.
"He wanted to get some shots to prove a point. He was trying to excel.
"Gerald was not to blame and would not be put down, said Ms Brooker.
"We are not going to shoot Gerald. He was not in the wrong. I don't consider him to be a dangerous animal."
She said unlike Shamba the lion who was shot on another South African game farm after mauling his British owner Mike Hodge on Monday, Gerald the giraffe showed "no animosity, no malicious intent".
She said: "He's just a huge wild animal and the guy disobeyed safety regulations. I'm very sad for his family. But I'm not one of those people who blames the animals."
Facebook was flooded with condolences late this week as news of Mr Carvalho's death spread through the movie community who knew him as Pepe.
"My head's still reeling at the news ... can't believe this happened!" posted gaffer Clint Stone.
"One of the nicest guys I have ever had the privilege of working with and the honour of calling a friend. You will be so sorely missed, the industry will be so much poorer for your absence."
"Stunned, how can this happen?!" wrote cinematographer Toby Tangawizi Harris. "I am absolutely stunned and so saddened to hear this news.
"Pepe was a wonderful human being who I had the privilege of working with on many film sets.
"His talent and humbleness made him stand out and I'll always appreciate the support and fun moments we shared. You will be missed massively Carlos."
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission.