Causes and Mechanisms of Death in Fatal Water Buffalo Attacks
Deaths due to buffalo attack have not been well described. A 72‐year‐old man was trampled by a water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) while attempting to move the animal within an enclosed area at an abattoir. At autopsy, there were numerous injuries involving the chest, head, neck, and left upper arm. Blunt force injury had resulted in multiple rib fractures with a flail chest and fracture/dislocation of the mid‐cervical vertebrae caused either by physical crushing by the animal against the walls of the enclosure or by stomping. There was also evidence of crush asphyxia with bilateral conjunctival hemorrhages and petechial hemorrhages. In addition, there was a deep degloving injury of the upper left arm compatible with goring by one of the buffalo horns. While large animal attacks may result in death from multiple injuries, careful dissection and examination of specific injuries at autopsy may clarify the complex interaction of lethal mechanisms.
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