SAN DIEGO — Police arrested a man for taking his 2-year-old son into an elephant habitat at the San Diego Zoo Friday.
Cellphone video captured the incident. The video shows the man holding the boy inside the enclosure when an elephant begins walking toward them.
Witnesses said the man then tripped while attempting to get away. They were ultimately able to get out of the exhibit safely.
Matthew Passiglia and his family were at the zoo at watched the entire incident unfold. Passiglia said he was just thankful no one got hurt.
"It was just surreal," he said. "You know how powerful they are and just seeing the two of them there with that elephant, you just realize how minimal they are in comparison to that animal and what it's able to do at that point in time if it wants to."
Zoo officials said the man and his toddler made it through multiple barriers before getting into the enclosure. The man is now facing child endangerment and trespassing charges.
The zoo did not report any injuries to any elephants in the incident.