A Florida man has died after being attacked by either one or two cassowary birds, which have often been called “living dinosaurs” and are considered one of the most dangerous birds in the world.
The victim, identified as 75-year-old Marvin Hajos, owned the farm where the incident occurred.
“It appears that the gentleman who was killed raised the birds and was injured after falling in a path near the Cassowary enclosure,” Jeff Taylor, the Fire Rescue Deputy Chief for Alachua County, told BuzzFeed News.
Taylor said that there were two cassowaries on the site, but it’s “unclear whether one or both birds took part in the attack.”
Hajos was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital where he later died, a spokesperson said.
“Our crews worked very hard to give the victim the best chance possible at survival,” Taylor said.
Cassowaries are large feathered birds that resemble the emu, according to the San Diego Zoo.
They can run as fast as 30 miles per hour and can grow as large as 6 feet tall.
The animal is native to tropical forests in New Guinea and can be found in Australia as well.
It possess a claw on each foot, which can grow as long as 4 inches, and can “slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick."
Lt. Brett Rhodenizer, a spokesperson for the Alachua Police, told the Gainesville Sun that “initial information indicates that this was a tragic accident for Mr. Hajos and his family.”
Rhodenizer added that the birds involved are “secured on private property at this time.”
The incident is currently being investigated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the local sheriff's department.
Representatives for the Alachua Police Department were not immediately available for comment.