An American tourist was killed in a popular Johannesburg lion park after she was dragged by a lion from the car she was in. The 22-year-old tourist died at the scene after paramedics were called to save her.
As reported in the Telegraph UK, Scott Simpson, Lion Park’s spokesman, said the woman and her companion had been traveling through the park with the windows down.
“The lion approached from the left of the vehicle from the passenger side and it walked quite close. The witnesses said they saw the guests taking pictures of the lion from a metre away, then the lion lunged at the car and bit the lady through the window.”
The unknown woman, who was traveling with a South African man believed to be her guide, had left the windows in her car down after being warned not to travel through the park with the windows open. According to Simpson, signs throughout the park clearly stated that visitors needed to keep their windows closed.
“We make it so clear. We put signage up everywhere that people must keep their windows closed. We hand them a slip of paper when they enter the park, I really don’t understand why people think its okay to leave windows open.”
Although the American embassy was aware of the incident, and stated they would assist in any way possible, the name of the victim and her companion have not been released. Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, Gauteng province police spokesman, said that the incident is under investigation because the “woman died unnaturally.”
Two previous incidents prior to the US tourist who was killed took place at the park this year, one involving an Australian tourist and the other involving a 13-year-old boy. Brendan Smith, the tourist from Australia, was mauled after rolling down his window. As reported in Eyewitness News, he posted the following on his Facebook page.
“No later than 36 hours after touching down in Africa I find myself in hospital after a lion jumped through the car window and decided to go to town on my legs. Pretty full-on but am alive, with insurance coming to the party and an influx of curious Africans wanting to see ‘the lion man’. Could have and should have been a lot worse but chicks dig scars so I’ll be sweet!”
The 13-year-old boy was attacked after he jumped a fence and rode his bicycle through the park. In addition to the US tourist who was killed, several other accidents involving animals have occurred since 2011. Although the park considered the incident unfortunate, there are no plans to euthanize the lion involved.
[Photo Credit Telegraph UK]