South African filmmaker Carlos Carvalho has died after a run-in with a giraffe while filming at a wildlife facility. Gerald the giraffe swung his neck and struck Carvalho with his head while Carvalho was filming him, causing Carvalho to fly through the air and suffer head trauma, from which he ultimately died. He was 47.
Carvalho was filming at the Glen Afric farm in Broederstroom, about 40 miles from Johannesberg, when he “had a fatal run-in with a giraffe on set,” according to filming agency CallaCrew.
He was flown to a Johannesberg hospital for treatment Wednesday but succumbed to his injuries the same night.
A crew member, Drikus van der Merwe, said that the giraffe had seemed “inquisitive” and that the strike “came out of nowhere.”
The film crew had been at the North West Province game farm where tourists can interact with wild animals to get footage for a German movie, “Premium Nanny 2.”
Carvalho had won several awards, including a Silver Lion at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for a Childline public service announcement and a 2014 African Movie Academy Cinematography Award.
A Glen Afric spokesperson said that Carvalho had ignored safety instructions not to approach the animal and that he was unauthorized to film.
“Gerald was not to blame and would not be put down,” the farm said. “We are not going to shoot Gerald. He was not in the wrong. I don’t consider him to be a dangerous animal.”