Carol Kirken was enjoying her exotic vacation with family members in Tanzania. Her friends back in Michigan were enjoying the photos Kirken was posting on her Facebook page about the African safari trip.
But Kirken’s dream vacation ended in horrifying fashion.
Kirken, 75, died after being attacked by a hippopotamus. Her son was close by when the deadly tragedy took place.
“Our cherished Carol Kirken died in Tanzania on August 5th. She was on her annual holiday with family members for an African safari,” the family wrote in her obituary.
“Carol died quickly in the arms of her son Robert,” the family added. “We are shocked and saddened at her early departure from our lives.”
Among the photos of the trip Kirken posted to her Facebook page included one of her smiling while onboard the plane bound for Tanzania.
In a somewhat eerie coincidence, her final post on Facebook detailed how the group had just seen a mass migration of hippos and bull elephants.
The circumstances surrounding her death haven’t been made public, but hippos are known to be one of the world’s most dangerous animals.
According to National Geographic, hippos are known for being extremely territorial and kill more people in Africa each year “than any single disease, except malaria.”
Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said the news of Kirken’s death has shook the entire community.
“There are few people in the community that you think of that are absolute treasures and Carol is one of those in our community,” Barnett said.
Kirken was extremely active within her hometown. She was one of the founding members of the Rochester Area Women’s Fund, and also volunteered with the North Oakland YMCA Supporting Military Families.
“Carol was aggressive about the organization and very passionate,” Barnett said. “She called me just a few weeks ago and begged me to come to this meeting because she was excited about the new direction of the YMCA that was very important to her. They went around the table and said what is your interest in being here I said, ‘I am here because Carol asked me to be here.’”
Kirken is survived by her husband Bill, three children and five grandchildren.
“Having past (sic) 75 years old, she was resolutely shooting for 100,” the family wrote in Kirken’s obituary. “She would have surely achieved it if not for this accident.” (For more from the author of “Grandmother Dies in Son’s Arms After Terrifying Animal Attack” please click HERE)