The crew was filming at Glen Afric Country Lodge, an open wildlife facility about 40 minutes northwest of Johannesburg.
The facility’s website boasts of the opportunity to “interact with some of Africa’s most magnificent animals,” such as elephants, zebras and giraffes. Its photo gallery features pictures of a newlywed couple sitting in the grass, mere feet from an elephant with no protective barrier between them. It also points out that the British TV series “Wild at Heart” was filmed there and invites guests to “view the homestead where filming took place.”
During the filming, 47-year-old Carvalho “had a fatal run in with a giraffe on set. He was flown to Milpark Hospital [in Johannesburg] but succumbed to his injuries” at 8:50 local time Wednesday, the CallaCrew agency posted Thursday on Facebook.
“Our thoughts and condolences go out to Carlo’s family and friends during this very sad time. He will be sorely missed,” the statement added.
Two Oceans Production, a Cape Town film production company, told Entertainment Weekly that Carvalho was hit in the head by a male giraffe named Gerald.
Dirkus Van Der Merwe, a fellow member of the crew, talked about the incident with the Telegraph.
He said Gerald began following a member of the crew, “but we didn’t feel threatened because he just seemed to be inquisitive.” So, he said, they used the opportunity get a few more shots of the creature — and that’s when he said the animal grew violent.
“We started shooting close-ups of its body and its feet,” Van Der Merwe said. “Then while Carlos was looking through the camera eyepiece Gerald swung his neck and hit him against his head. It came out of nowhere and Carlos didn’t even see it coming. He wasn’t aware of the danger.”
A Glen Afric representative told The Post in a statement that the incident “occurred after filming with animals had come to an end and the giraffe was moved off the set by animal wranglers who were in attendance.”
“From all accounts, it is alleged that the cameraman decided, on his own accord, to obtain additional video footage of the giraffe,” the statement added. “The cameraman ignored all safety briefings and protocols by venturing too close to the giraffe, who swung his head as giraffes naturally do, making contact with the cameraman and knocking him off his feet. Unfortunately, the blow proved to be fatal.”
“The management and staff of Glen Afric are deeply saddened by this unfortunate accident and join the production company in extending their sincere condolences to the cameraman’s family and friends,” it continued, adding that an “independent investigation into the accident is underway.”
A Glen Afric representative later told Variety that the giraffe would not be euthanized.
“Gerald was not to blame and would not be put down,” a representative for Glen Afric told Variety. “We are not going to shoot Gerald. He was not in the wrong. I don’t consider him to be a dangerous animal.”