Elephants escape circus in St. Louis, damage cars

ST. CHARLES, Mo. -- Police confirm three elephants escaped the Shrine Circus at the Family Arena Saturday afternoon and roamed the parking lot, damaging multiple cars. No one was injured.

In a statement, the Shrine Circus said handlers were able to occupy the animals, and "they are now resting comfortably in their compound at this time." Witnesses say the elephants were spooked by loud noises when they ran off.

"We saw all these people running after them, and they were all screaming 'stop, stop,' and several of the circus people were trying to run alongside them," said Karyn Tunnicliff, who was in a car outside of the arena with her daughter when it happened.

"[A trainer] yelled 'we need pretzels, anything, just get me some food,'" Karyn's daughter, Allie Tunnicliff, said.

The circus was still going on when the elephants escaped, the Tunnicliffs said, and the parking lot was almost empty. The elephants were only out for about 45 minutes.

Two cars were visibly damaged, and authorities couldn't confirm if additional vehicles or property was involved.

In true circus fashion, the next show went on, although the three elephants who made a 'great escape' got to take a break.


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