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A German tourist has been killed after being trampled by a donkey in Greece.

The 67-year-old woman and her husband were reportedly passengers on a cruise ship and were visiting the Greek island of Santorini on Wednesday (7 October).

The cruise ship was due to depart and head to Mykonos later in the day.

The couple were walking around the town centre with two friends when the donkey bolted from its owner.

Local paper the Greek Reporter said that the animal hit the woman, before trampling her while the owner tried to catch it.

The donkey started running up a pathway that leads from the old port of Fira to the main town, overlooking the Caldera.

The owner was taken to the police station for a statement, while an investigation continues.

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Donkeys have long been a source of controversy in Santorini as they are used to transport tourists around, prompting welfare charities to step in.

The Donkey Sanctuary has led efforts to improve the welfare of donkeys who take tourists up the steep cliffs – climbing 600 steps – from the port to the old town.

A code of practice set up by the sanctuary several years ago had not been enforced – until the election of a new mayor, who pledged to improve welfare in 2011.

The Donkey Sanctuary still urge tourists to keep an eye out and send information if they have concerns. Previous spot-checks have found girths embedded in the animals’ flesh and lame donkeys having to work.