Giraffe Attack At A South African Wildlife Reserve Leaves Woman And Toddler Severely Injured

American Dr. Katy Williams and son Finn, 3, were airlifted to a Johannesburg hospital.

A tower of giraffes at sunrise in the Mashatu game reserve on July 27, 2010 in Mapungubwe, Botswana. Mashatu i
Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

American Dr. Katy Williams and son Finn, 3, were airlifted to a Johannesburg hospital.

American scientist Dr. Katy Williams and son Finn, 3, are both in stable condition at a Johannesburg hospital after having life-saving surgery following an attack by a giraffe near their home on a wildlife preserve. Dr. Williams and her son were on the grounds of the Blyde Wildlife Estate near Hoedspruit, 150 yards from their home when the female giraffe attacked.

The Daily Mail is reporting that Sam Williams, the husband of Katy Williams, and a fellow scientist returned home just in time to run the giraffe off and save the lives of his wife and son. The female giraffe has a young calf with her, and possibly felt threatened when she launched the attack on Williams and her toddler.

The adult giraffe trampled Dr. Williams and her son is a “vicious manner” and in a sustained attack until Dr. Sam Williams arrived and drove the adult giraffe off in an effort to save his family.

Dr. Katy Williams and her son Finn were waiting for her husband to return from his evening run on Monday night at around 6 p.m., and it was Dr. Sam Williams who called for emergency help and a rescue helicopter was dispatched.

The Hoedspruit Medical Rescue team was the first on the scene, but the injuries sustained by Katy and Finn Williams were so severe that the ambulance drove them to a local airfield where two helicopters awaited them, according to authorities.

“Finn was the first to be airlifted by the ER24 to chopper to Busamed Modderfontein Hospital in Johannesburg and the mother then followed shortly in the second helicopter.”

Finn had surgery first to release pressure in his brain, and his mother has a surgical procedure next. Both are said to be in stable condition.

Riaan Cilliers, the manager of Blyde Wildlife Estate confirmed the giraffe attack.

“We are all in shock about this very sad incident and we ensure the family that they are in our prayers.”

Both Drs. Katy and Sam Williams have worked extensively in the field of animal behavior, and Dr. Sam Williams believes that his wife and son must have caught the female giraffe by surprise. He called the incident “an unfortunate act of nature” as the mother giraffe must have been protecting her calf.

“The family has asked the public and media to kindly respect their privacy during this very difficult time that they are going through.”

The Williams family has released several pictures of the three in happier times.