Elephants kill five people after locals throw stones 'to scare them off' in India

The animals' deadly rampage sparked panic through the West Bengal village 

Five people have been trampled to death and one critically injured after wild elephants rampaged through a village in Eastern India. 

Reports from AFP say four elephants broke away from their herd and entered the village of Bhatar in West Bengal state on Sunday morning.

West Bengal forest minister Benoy Krishna Burman said the elephants had been angered by the victims, who had thrown stones at them in attempt to scare them away. 

He said that caused the elephants' deadly rampage, triggering widespread panic through the village.

Forestry officials were summoned to help, and one of the elephants, a male, died after being hit with a tranquiliser. The others, a female and two calves, ran away. 

The West Bengal forest ministry are involved in Project Elephant, which aims to restore and protect the habitats of wild elephants, which experts say would reduce the risk of their entering villages. 

In response to increased human-elephant conflict, the World Wildlife Fund has initiated a ‘flying squad’ in parts of Asia.

The squad is made up of a group of Asian elephants and their riders who are specially trained to ward off fellow elephants, drawing them away from crops and villages.