01/17/2011 // Greensboro, NC, USA // Personal Injury Lawyers News // Nicole Howley

Knoxville, TN—Officials are calling the death of a zoo worker who was crushed by an African elephant on Friday, January 14, a “tragic accident.” The elephant will not be punished for killing Knoxville zoo handler Stephanie James, reports ABC News.

The 33-year-old zoo worker was killed when the 8,000 pound African elephant named Edie pushed James into the metal bars of a stall, according to zoo officials. Another zoo handler shouted commands to the elephant to back away, in which the elephant followed. The elephant was not acting aggressively at the time.

Responding emergency crews rushed James to the hospital where she later died.

“Edie, the African elephant involved in the incident, will not be punished or disciplined for the incident,” Jim Vina, executive director of the Knoxville Zoo said.

At this time, zoo officials are keeping the zoo’s three elephants away from any direct human contact.

This isn’t the first time trainers have been attacked by zoo animals. In July of last year, an elephant charged his handler repeatedly at Ohio’s Toledo Zoo. The trainer survived, but sustained life-threatening lung injuries in the attack. In 2007, an elephant attacked wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin while filming in Cambodia for a CNN show. Corwin suffered no broken bones.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Tennessee workplace accident lawyers.

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