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OSHA Investigates Death of Elephant Caretaker

HOPE, Maine - Federal workplace safety officials are investigating the death of a Maine man who was crushed by an elephant in his care this month.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says an investigator went to the site in Hope after retired veterinarian James Laurita died on Sept. 9. Police say one of the elephants apparently accidentally stepped on Laurita after he fell in their enclosure.

The elephants, Rosie and Opal, have since been returned to the Endangered Ark Foundation in Hugo, Oklahoma.

Elephant handlers have differing view about how to handle the large animals. Some feel that there should be barriers between elephants and their handlers. There is no timetable for the OSHA investigation.