Runaway Circus Elephants Damage Cars Near St. Louis

VIDEO: Elephants Escape from St. Louis Circus

Runaway circus elephants surprised people living in St. Charles, Mo., after they broke away from their trainers and spent 30 minutes in a nearby parking lot before they were corralled.

The three pachyderms escaped from the Moolah Shrine Circus on Saturday afternoon, leaving some patrons stuck in their cars after they saw the elephants coming through the parking lot.

Karyn and Allie Tunnicliff had just arrived when they saw the animals.

"I just got out - 'Oh my God, Allie turn around real quick. There's the elephants,'" said Karyin Tunnicliff. "Then we saw a bunch of people running after them yelling stop, stop. Their trainers were just … panicked."

The animals managed to do some damage during their time out, leaving cars dented in their wake. One of the loading doors from where the animals escaped was also bent.

"It's something you would read in a book, not something you would expect to witness. I'm still surprised it happened," said Allie Tunnicliff.

Circus officials told ABC News crowd noise spooked the animals. In spite of the temporary jailbreak, the circus didn't cancel a planned show.

The runaway elephants, however, got a break.

The circus spokesman confirmed to ABC News that "the elephants are now resting comfortably in their compound at this time."

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