Cancun, Mexico – A 60-year-old American man was killed by a runaway camel at his exotic animal ranch in the Mexican town of Tulum, popular with tourists for its breathtaking beach just feet away from Mayan ruins.
The man, identified by the Chicago Tribune as Richard Mileski, died after being kicked, bit and sat on by the animal, and authorities have seized the private facility's animals pending an investigation.
Rescuers had to use a rope tied to a pickup truck to pull the enraged camel off the body of Mileski, according to Tulum Civil Defense official Alberto Canto. He said the attack took place on Monday.
Mileski died while being given first aid inside a house on the property, employees said.
"The camel kicked and bit him practically to death, and when he was almost dead, he sat on him," said Canto. "Between the blows and the weight of the camel on top of him, he was asphyxiated."
While it was unclear why the animal, which was in a kind of enclosure, attacked Mileski. Canto said some versions suggest the camel was upset at not getting a soft drink.
"One version is that he would always give him a Coca-Cola to drink, and apparently, that day he didn't give him the Coca-Cola," Canto said, adding, "there are a lot of versions."
Tulum emergency services personnel reported the attack to Mexico's environmental protection agency, Profepa, which conducted an inspection of the ranch called Tulum Monkey Jungle.
Officials seized 25 exotic animals, including 13 spider monkeys, six white-tailed deer, two emus, two llamas and a wild boar were placed under seizure orders, but were being kept at the sanctuary pending investigation.
A Profepa official said the park did not have papers proving the legal ownership of the animals.
He added the animals "will be held by the manager of the facility in administrative custody," meaning they can't leave the park but will be cared for.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press and EFE.