Terrified Katy Williams, 35, and son Finn, 3, were 'covered in blood' and have undergone surgery after they were trampled by the beast near their home on the Blyde Wildlife Estate near Hoedspruit after the terrifying encounter.

Scientist Dr Katy Williams and her son Finn were only saved from the female giraffe when her Brit husband Dr Sam Williams arrived and drove the beast away.

The attack on the mother and son comes just months after a camera man died while working on the British TV programme Wild At Heart in South Africa after he was attacked by a giraffe.

Husband Sam was returning home from work around 6pm on Monday evening and saw his US born wife and son under being viciously attacked but was able to chase off the giraffe and save their lives.

Sam, a scientist who works alongside his wife on the reserve, then called for emergency services and the Hoedspruit Medical Rescue team raced to the scene.

The giraffe, which had a two month old calf with it, is believed to have attacked the young mum and her son because it felt under threat when they surprised her.

Katy and Finn were waiting close to the family home for her husband to return from his daily training run in the hills on the nature reserve when they were trampled.

A source at the Blyde Wildlife Reserve said: "Sam often goes for a run after work and I was told Katy and Finn were waiting for him to come back when they surprised a giraffe.

"The giraffe was with a calf and attacked them very seriously. They were very badly injured and Katy was doing all she could to protect Finn but the giraffe just towered over them.

"Sam was finishing his run and saw what was happening and managed to chase the giraffe off. His wife and child were covered in blood – you can imagine the trauma he felt."

He managed to get medical attention for them both and they were driven to an airfield where they medical experts did they best they could until they were airlifted to Johannesburg.

The source continued: "Everyone is crossing everything for the family – they are very well loved and everyone is shocked".

Dr Sam Williams confirmed in an update through his lawyer on Thursday that several doctors had operated on his wife at Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital in Johannesburg.

Lawyer Marina Botha said: “The operation to attend to multiple injuries sustained during the attack from the giraffe was completed during the early hours of this morning.

“Dr Sam Williams would like to thank all doctors and medical personal from the hospital for their efforts to give his wife and son the best chance to heal.

“Both mother and son are still in a critical but stable condition. The family said that they have decided to take one day at a time and to remain positive” said the statement.

Ms Botha said Dr Williams regards the attack as an "unfortunate act of nature".

"He understands the giraffe saw his wife as a threat to her young one," the lawyer said.

On Facebook, Katy's father Jack Standish said he felt "helpless" as his daughter and grandson are in hospital.

He said: "Please send all your prayers and love to Katy, Finn and Sam… Thank the hundreds if not thousands of loving people who have send greetings of hope and prayers to me or my family.

"Thank you from a father who feels useless in not helping is wonderful daughter and loving Grandson."

The attack was just 150 yards from the home where the two scientists – with post PhD experience in animal-related fields – live and work on the reserve.

A spokesman for ER24 who sent out two air ambulance helicopters confirmed both Katy and Finn had suffered "numerous serious injuries" and were taken to hospital in Johannesburg in a critical condition.

Finn was the first to be airlifted by the ER24 helicopter to Busamed Modderfontein Hospital in Johannesburg and his mother then followed shortly in the second helicopter.

An operation was performed on Finn during the early hours of Tuesday morning to release pressure on his brain due to injuries sustained in the near deadly attack.

The manager of Blyde Wildlife Estate Riaan Cilliers confirmed the incident and said: “We are all in shock about this very sad incident and we ensure the family that they are in our prayers”.

Mr Cilliers confirmed that the giraffe in question has a two-month-old calf, which may have had an influence on her behaviour and may have been surprised by the mother and son.

According to local media, the giraffe could be moved to a new reserve following the attack.

Mr Williams said in a press statement that he regarded the incident as an “unfortunate act of nature” where the giraffe saw his wife and son as a threat to her young one.

He said the family has asked the public and media to kindly respect their privacy during “this very difficult time” that they are going through and released two family photographs.

Earlier this year at cameraman on British TV show Wild at Heart was killed by a giraffe as he filmed at the Glen Africa game reserve in Broederstroom in North West Province.

South African film maker Carlos Carvalho, 47, was knocked 16 feet through the air when the giraffe slammed into him with his neck and died of his injuries later in hospital.

The TV series featuring a British family running an animal hospital in the African bush was filmed at Glen Africa for many years and Mr Carvalho had worked on most episodes.

The giraffe that killed him was said to have attacked others in the past.

Giraffes grow up to 19 feet tall, can weigh over a ton and are the world’s tallest mammal.

Males can become aggressive in mating season and females can be aggressive when protecting their young.

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