A domesticated elephant killed two handlers in northern Vietnam apparently after being forced to work without eating, an official said Monday.

Le Van Lanh, 42, and his assistant Ha Van Hoang, 46, died Saturday after being gored by the elephant's tusk in the forest in Truong Xuan village in Thanh Hoa province, said village chief Ngan Van Thiep.

The one-tusked male elephant, which is more than 20 years old, apparently became angry and attacked its handlers after being forced to haul more trees from the forest without being fed Saturday morning, he said.

Thiep said the elephant, which killed another worker in 1994, was being chained and village authorities have asked the provincial government for advice on what they should do with the animal.

Vietnam bans the hunting of the country's dwindling elephant population, which poachers value highly for their tusks.