Dad and son, 5, ‘inches’ from death after rhino smashes into car at safari park

A dad and his five-year-old son were inches away from death after a rhino smashed into their car at a safari park.

Jamie Wood, 35, had taken his son Jackson on a day trip to West Midlands Safari Park in Worcestershire.

The pair were left shaken when two rhinos stopped fighting and one of them turned on their car – a Skoda Fabia – and charged at them.

The huge animal charged for 200ft towards the car and smashed the bonnet, leaving the 35-year-old with a £1,500 repair bill.

Jamie said: "It was absolutely terrifying. It happened so quickly and I didn’t know what to do. I was just in shock.

“I kept telling Jackson it would avoid us and then I heard myself swear when I realised it was going to hit us.

“I’d imagine she was around four or five times the weight of the car. If I’d have been a bit further forward that massive horn would have gone right through me.

“It was very traumatic and Jackson still has nightmares about it. This could happen again and could easily be fatal.”

The incident happened when Jamie borrowed the car from mum Alison Wood, 65, to go to the park on October 10.

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Jamie fumed: “I was expecting at least a refund on my tickets or a free annual pass. The staff just said: ‘well you know what a protective mother is like.’

"It’s great that they are free-roaming but maybe they should segregate mum and baby pairs so things like this don’t happen.

“I know they say you’re liable for damage to your car, but you expect a little scratch. This is very different."

A spokesperson for West Midland Safari & Leisure Park said: "As part of the safari drive through experience, many of our animals are able to roam freely between vehicles.

"This includes our herd of white rhino. Keepers in patrol vehicles are always in close attendance, to monitor all animal and vehicle movements during park opening hours for the safety of our guests.

"On the afternoon of October 10, one of our female rhinos, whilst following her three-month-old calf, collided with a vehicle within the African reserve.

"During the incident, our team of trained keepers in patrol vehicles attempted to guide the mother and baby rhino away from the guest’s vehicle, but unfortunately were unable to prevent the rhino from coming into contact with the vehicle.

"Trained keepers escorted the guests involved in the incident safely out of the reserves and no injuries were reported to us at the scene."

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