American Tourist Killed In Safari Lion Attack Identified, Photos Taken Just Seconds Before Attack

The American tourist who was mauled to death by a lion while in a South African drive-thru safari has been identified. Katherine Chappell, 22, was killed by a lioness after it pounced through her open vehicle window and mauled her to death. The victim’s camera, which officials say contained photos of the lion just seconds before it attacked, was confiscated.

ABC News reports that the identity of the U.S. tourist killed in the deadly lion attack was confirmed by the victim’s sister. The victim was identified as 22-year-old Katherine Chappell, who was taking photos at the South African drive-thru safari when the incident took place. Prior to entering The Lion Park, near Johannesburg, South Africa, visitors are told to keep their windows up at all times. However, photos on Chappell’s camera indicate that the woman’s windows were down throughout the duration of the drive.

According to the Daily Mail, the victim was riding in the passenger side of a vehicle driven by a local tour guide. Families driving just behind the vehicle noted that Chappell had her window down throughout the duration of the safari. Witnesses say that as the lioness approached the vehicle, Chappell was snapping away with her camera. In fact, just seconds before the deadly attack, Chappell had taken a photo of the very lion that would kill her. Scott Simpson, a manager at the Lion Park, says that police confiscated the deceased woman’s camera along with photos from witnesses driving behind the fated vehicle.

“The dead lady’s camera was taken by police as evidence, as she was photographing the lioness through an open window up until the moment the lion attacked the vehicle. According to eye witnesses, the lion was walking near the vehicle and the visitor was taking pictures through an open window. Witnesses say that both front windows were down the whole time they were in the enclosure. The other lions in the area watched from a distance throughout. 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.”

It was noted that the victim received prompt medical care but that the paramedics were unable to revive the woman after the fatal attack. The tour guide in the driver’s side of the vehicle is still in the hospital receiving treatments for wounds he received as he tried to pry the mouth of the lion off his passenger. Police are expected to question the tour guide in the coming days after he is given time to heal.

[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Ross Land]

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