Award-winning filmmaker dies after being headbutted by giraffe during filming

Award-winning filmmaker dies after being headbutted by giraffe during filming
Carvalho was headbutted by a giraffe (Source: Getty Images)

An award-winning filmmaker has been tragically killed after being headbutted by a giraffe while shooting footage at a safari lodge in South Africa on May 2. 47-year-old Carlos Carvalho was taking close-up shots of the animal named Gerald when it abruptly attacked him and sent him flying through the air.

Richard Brooker, whose family owns the lodge, told the Telegraph that Gerald was not considered dangerous and would not be put down despite the incident. Recently, a male lion was put down at a Predator center in South Africa after it attacked the elderly owner.

A giraffe at Noah's Ark farm in Bristol, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

"When Carlos was standing in front of the giraffe, the animal spread its legs, bent its neck and swung its head at Carlos," he said. "Gerald will remain at the lodge. He did nothing wrong.”

Carlos had been shooting at the Glen Afric farm in Broederstroom. The farm is famous for having featured in the British TV series ‘Wild at Heart’. A spokesperson for the lodge has suggested that the director had ignored safety instructions.

According to filming agency CallaCrew, Carlos, who won a Silver Lion at Cannes Film Festival in 2003, died after being flown to a hospital in Johannesburg. He was also director of photography for the feature film ‘The Forgotten Kingdom’. Drikus Van Der Merwe, a member of the film crew who witnessed the incident, told the Sun that the giraffe had seemed “inquisitive” but not threatening.

“The giraffe started chasing the boom swinger who joined our unit," he said. "We didn’t feel threatened because he just seemed to be inquisitive. We started shooting close-ups of its body and its feet. 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. I knew he had a severe head trauma. But I never thought he would die."

His death was announced in a statement by the film crew agency CallaCrew’s Facebook page: “It is with a very sad heart that we have to announce the passing of Carlos Carvalho‚ one of our favourite DOP’s. Carlos was filming a feature at Glen Afric and had a fatal run in with a giraffe on set. He was flown to Milpark Hospital but succumbed to his injuries 20:50 last night. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Carlo’s family and friends during this very sad time. He will be sorely missed.”

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