A 70-year-old woman from India was killed by an elephant as she walked to collect water in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district. But the typically docile animal stunned her family when it returned during the dead woman's funeral to trample her corpse.

According to The Print, Maya Murmu was collecting water from a tube well on June 11 when an elephant wandered away from the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary.

The tusked animal approached her as she collected water, hit her, knocked her down and trampled her.

Murmu sustained serious injuries and was rushed to the hospital, where she later died.

Later that evening, as family and friends gathered to perform a ritualistic burial ceremony, the elephant suddenly returned. The animal trampled the corpse before throwing her body aside and fleeing into the night.

The family was able to perform the funeral several hours later, but eyewitnesses were horrified.

As reported by Newsweek, Duncan McNair, a lawyer and founder of conservation charity Save the Asian Elephants, said the incident is a reminder that although elephants are typically gentle animals, they can be "dangerous and deadly."

"These endangered elephants can be deadly dangerous, particularly when provoked or abused," McNair warned.

"Elephants are generally benign and passive... they don't rush out of nowhere to attack people that pose no threat to their safety, or babies or to anything like that," he explained.

"[This incident] is surprising because it shows no provocation of the elephant," he continued. "It's just possible that if [the elephant] was in proximity still at the time of the funeral, and that's not clear, that it could have recognized the remains and it may have seen or smelled that, and it may have associated that woman with some catastrophe to it, or its herd. That is quite possible."

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