Charging elephant
© Getty
Charging elephant
A rampaging elephant has killed five members of a family including a nine-day old infant in a remote village in India's northeastern frontier, a local official said this afternoon.

The elephant trampled the family to death while they were asleep in their thatched hut in the early hours of this morning in Behali forest, 256km from Assam state's capital Guwahati.

Both parents, their infant daughter and two other children died during the incident, while their three-year-old daughter survived the attack and was being treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

"The family was asleep when the elephant attacked their hut," Rajiv Chaudhary, a divisional forestry officer, told AFP.

He said the elephant had apparently strayed from its herd when it charged the home.

The animal reportedly left the area soon after the attack, according to the official.

Wildlife experts say encounters between humans and elephants are increasing in India's rural areas due to the destruction of the animals' habitat.

Last month a herd of wild elephants went on an hours-long rampage in neighbouring West Bengal, killing five people and damaging vehicles and homes before being subdued with tranquilliser darts.

Elephant attacks do not attract the same attention as shark attacks - despite the fact that they are more common and cause more deaths.

Sharks killed a total of six people worldwide last year according to the International Shark Attack File.

WWF says elephants kill 100 people a year in India alone.

Source: AFP