June 2, 2015

Lion mauls American tourist to death in South African safari park (VIDEO) - @NatGeo

A 22-year-old American woman has been mauled to death and another person seriously injured after being pulled through their car window by a lion in a safari park in South Africa.

The tourist and her companion, thought to be a South African tour guide, were taking a 'routine' drive through the 20-acre compound containing about a dozen big cats near Johannesburg.

Gauteng Lion Park employee Scott Simpson, 28, told Daily Mail Online: 'The lion approached from the left of the vehicle, the passenger side and walked quite close to the car.

'The witnesses said they saw the guests taking pictures of the lion from a meter away, then the lion lunged at the car and bit the lady through the window.' 

Mr Simpson said park staff rushed to pull the lioness off the young woman and carried out CPR. Paramedics were called but could do nothing to save her.

'When the paramedics were treating the lady she unfortunately passed away,' he said.

He has been working for less than a year at the Park, which is an hour from Johannesburg. 

It's the third big cat attack at the park in just four months.  

Police confirmed that the tourist was 22 years old and an American citizen. 

The U.S. Embassy confirmed a U.S. citizen had been killed but were revealing no further details, only that they were providing consular services.

The lioness responsible for the attack has been identified and is being kept alone in a separate enclosure.

There were no plans to destroy the animal.

In March, an Australian tourist was injured by a lioness after going on safari with his car windows open.

Brendan Smith, from Perth, was left with deep flesh wounds after the big cat pounced through the window and bit his leg.

Smith posted pictures of his injuries on Facebook which happened after he'd only been in South Africa for 36 hours.

Two days later, a 13-year-old from a nearby slum was attacked by a cheetah while riding a bicycle through the grounds. 

In December 2013, a former South African franchise rugby player Brett Tucker and his family were attacked by a lion at the same park. Tucker's father reportedly suffered minor injuries.

The park has more than 85 lions, including rare white lions, and a variety of other animals, including giraffes and ostriches.

According to its website, Lion Park guarantees 'super close-up animal views' but it does order visitors to keep their car windows shut.

The park has previously come under fire for allowing visitors to pet lion cubs. It was also accused of breeding lions for 'canned hunting', a charge that the park has refuted.

The park offers tented accommodation and also hosts children's birthday parties.
A visitor to the Lion Park last year uploaded a video to YouTube of a lion opening a car door.

Employee Mr Simpson said visitors to the park were warned not to leave their windows open to avoid attacks.

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