Footage of the elephant going berserk. Image Credit: Screengrab

Colombo, Sri Lanka: An elephant taking part in a Buddhist pageant in Sri Lanka has run berserk, injuring at least 18 people.

Privately owned Derana Television aired footage of Saturday night's pageant in Kotte, near Sri Lanka's capital. The procession begins after a government minister places a sacred relic on a decorated casket atop an elephant adorned with shiny red clothing.

A few minutes later, another elephant runs forward, forcing terrified people to scatter, some of whom run into an elephant walking at the front of the procession. The elephant that was hit becomes violent and runs, pushing onlookers. A man riding on the elephant falls off and narrowly escapes being trampled.

Officials from two hospitals said 18 injured people were brought in and 16 have been discharged.