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South African Filmmaker Head-Butted by Giraffe Dies at 47

”It came out of nowhere,“ crew member says of Carlos Carvalho’s fatal accident

Filmmaker Carlos Carvalho died after being head-butted by a giraffe while shooting a film in South Africa. He was 47.

“It is with a very sad heart that we have to announce the passing of Carlos Carvalho, one of our favourite DOP’s,” his film crew agency CallaCrew, announced on Facebook after his death Wednesday. 

”Carlos was filming a feature at Glen Afric [sic] and had a fatal run in with a giraffe on set. He was flown to Milpark Hospital but succumbed to his injuries 20:50 last night.”

Carvalho was in South African filming in a game lodge when an attempt to get a close-up of a giraffe ended with the animal head-butting him, sending him flying, The Telegraph reported. He was transported to the Johannesburg hospital, where he died of massive head injuries.

Drikus Van Der Merwe, a member of the film crew, told The Telegraph, “We started shooting close ups of its body and its feet. Then while Carlos was looking through the camera eyepiece Gerald [the giraffe] swung his neck and hit him against his head.”

He added, “It came out of nowhere and Carlos didn’t even see it coming. He wasn’t aware of the danger.”

Richard Brooker, whose family owns the Glen Africa Country Lodge, told The Telegraph that the giraffe will not be put down, as he “did nothing wrong.”

Among the films Carvalho worked on as a camera operator, cinematographer or director of photography are “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” “Darkest Hour,” “Wonder Woman,” “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”