SAN FRANCISCO -- An elephant trainer at Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo was in critical condition Tuesday after he was gored by one of the pachyderms, a fire department spokesman said.

Patrick Chapple, 39, was standing next to 7,000-pound Misha, a 23-year-old female African elephant, at about 3:30 p.m. when the animal turned suddenly from grazing and knocked him to the ground.

When paramedics arrived, the 39-year-old man was suffering from a penetrating wound to the abdomen, but was alert and talking, according to Vallejo Fire Department spokesman William Tweedy.

A park spokesman confirmed that Chapple was gored.A handful of park visitors witnessed the accident, as well as another nearby trainer who quickly shooed Misha away.

Chapple was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.Chapple has 13 years of experience as an animal trainer, according to park spokesman Jeff Jouett.Late Tuesday, Misha remained in the elephant compound where she would be monitored.

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