A British scientist’s son who was trampled by a giraffe in a wildlife reserve is breathing on his own and is beginning to wake up after 13 days in a coma.
Three-year-old Finn Williams needed life-saving brain surgery after he and his wildlife biologist mother Katy, 35, were attacked in South Africa.
They were rescued by husband Dr Sam Williams who chased the animal away but both needed emergency medical help following the giraffe’s rampage earlier this month.
The mother and son were just 150 yards from their home on the Blyde Wildlife Estate when they were attacked.
Finn had an emergency operation immediately to release pressure on his brain while his mother had surgery the next day and regained consciousness five days ago.
Three-year-old Finn Williams needed life-saving brain surgery after he and his wildlife biologist mother Katy, 35, were attacked in South Africa (pictured together before the attack)
Family lawyer Marina Botha confirmed: ‘Finn is still sedated but he is beginning to wake up.
‘As his sedatives are reduced and he starts to regain consciousness his medical team expect to get further indications of the severity of his injuries.
‘We can confirm that he is breathing independently and we hope to have more information in the near future’ she said.
The pair are recovering in intensive care at the Busamed Modderfontein Hospital near Johannesburg, South Africa.
Father Dr Williams, 36, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, has been keeping bedside vigils since the attack on September 3.
Dr Katy Williams, from Baltimore, Maryland, who initially could only communicate with her husband by sign language, is now swapping hand written notes with him.
The lawyer added: ‘Katy’s recovery is going well and her condition is improving daily.
‘She understands that it will take time to recover fully but she has a positive attitude and she is surprising doctors with her rapid progress.
Dr Sam Williams (centre) is keeping up bedside vigils at the South African hospital where his son is in a paediatric intensive care unit
‘She is communicating with Sam by writing words and sentences on paper. And she has written to ask him to thank everyone for their overwhelming support on her behalf’.
The giraffe attack happened just 150 yards from their home on the Blyde Wildlife Estate in Hoedspruit after they stumbled across the giraffe and her young calf by accident.
It is thought the giraffe had been spooked and was protecting her calf but it attacked the young mum and her son and the 15-foot-tall giraffe trampled them both underfoot.
The lawyer confirmed the giraffe that carried out that attack is being moved to another reserve and will not be destroyed.
Both victims were airlifted to hospital near Johannesburg and placed in medically induced comas while two teams of surgeons operated on them to repair life threatening injuries.
The attack happened near their home on the Blyde Wildlife Estate near Hoedspruit (pictured)
Dr Sam Williams first revealed on Tuesday that he and Katy were communicating by sign language although he said it was ‘difficult’ due to the nature of her injuries.
He said:’I was amazed to see Katy wake up and to be able to talk to her and to reassure her that we were there for her.
‘Finn is stable and doctors are satisfied with his condition under the circumstances. I hope that in time he will also wake up so that we can all be reunited as a family.
Katy’s father Jack Standish and son David have flown from the U.S. to be at the bedside of their daughter, also a respected scientist and wildlife biologist.
Mr Standish said: ‘There can be nothing worse than being thousands of miles away when something of this nature happens to your daughter and grandson.
‘It was so difficult not to be able to do anything for her and Finn and it is the worst nightmare that any parent can face.
Katy Williams and son Finn, three, (pictured) were taken to hospital after the giraffe attack
‘I can always tell how Katy is doing by the look in her eyes. I can see that she was very happy to see us but that she is very concerned about Finn.
‘I know it will take a long time for them to recover but I will be here as long as they need me.
‘I can inform everyone who speculated about how this tragic incident happened that Katy is very well trained in all aspects of wild life through university and years in the field.
‘Katy and I have talked about the danger of giraffes on the reserve where they live previously. They know they had to be cautious around them.
‘This was an unfortunate incident but I can inform you that Katy would not deliberately put herself and Finn in danger.
‘We hold no judgement against the giraffe. This is just the way nature is and we accept that.’