U.S.-born Dr. Katy Williams, 35, and her son, Finn, were trampled by a giraffe at a nature reserve near their home, The Sun reported.
Dr. Sam Williams, 36, who is British, fought off the giraffe after seeing his wife and son being attacked around 6 p.m. local time on Sept. 3, according to The Sun.
The female giraffe had a two-month-old calf with her. The giraffe is thought to have attacked the mother and son to protect her calf after having felt threatened.
“The giraffe was with a calf and attacked them very seriously. They were very badly injured and Katy was doing all she could to protect Finn but the giraffe just towered over them,” the witness added.
The giraffe that attacked the pair may be moved to a new reserve, according to local media.
Sam and Katy Williams are scientists who work on the wildlife reserve. Following the ordeal, Sam called emergency services, and Katy and Finn were driven to an airfield to be attended to by medics before being airlifted to Johannesburg.
The mother and son are in critical but stable condition at the hospital as of Sept. 6, according to a statement from Sam Williams, The Sun reported.
Anne Oliver, Sam’s aunt, told The Sun: “We understand that Finn had an operation to remove a blood clot on the brain.”
Katy’s father, Jack Standish, updated friends and family with a Facebook status on Sept. 6, saying: “Katy underwent a Marathon of surgery yesterday (Sept. 5). All of the surgeons are happy with the results. She will have additional operations in the future. Progress was made in repairing here her shoulder, ribs and facial wounds.”
“Finn, has underwent Surgery on his hand and continues to get CT scans as well as X-rays,” Standish added.
“They are not out of the woods yet,” he wrote. “Please sent all you loving thoughts and prayers for them both. Thank you to all the friends and family and those who do not know Sam, Katy or Finn but have reached out for them.”
The family has asked the public and media to kindly respect their privacy during “this very difficult time,” The Sun reported.