Police in Vietnam say a circus elephant has trampled to death a girl who sneaked into a yard to feed it.

Police officer Pham Ngoc Tien of Lao Cai province in the north says the elephant was part of a troupe from Hanoi on a 10-day tour of the province. He says the elephant was tied to a chain in the fenced backyard of a cultural center when it was not performing.

Tien said Monday that the 11-year-old girl and several other children sneaked into the backyard. The girl was feeding the elephant when it lifted her up with its trunk, threw her to the ground and trampled her repeatedly.

Tien says the girl died at the scene following Sunday's incident. Police are investigating.