An image of the moment just before Katherine Chappell was attacked, mauled, and killed at a South African lion park has emerged, and it shows the lioness leaning into her car.
29-year-old Katherine Chappell died almost instantly after the huge creature lunged into the open window of the SUV she was in. Chappell is believed to have opened the window in order to take a photograph of the lioness. You can check out the image, which has come courtesy of the Daily Mirror, below.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) June 5, 2015
Ben Govendor was inside the car behind Chappell’s vehicle and has admitted that the entire incident was “terrifying.” Speaking to NY Daily News, the 38-year-old South African engineer explained, “After the first bite, the lioness retreated from the car with blood dripping from her mouth and paw.”
Govendor added that rangers immediately ran over to scare away the two lions, but they immediately recognized that it was too late. Govendor explained, “The rangers came running in and the two lions ran off. And it was too late to do anything to save her.”
Govendor continued, “The lioness was just too powerful. It was extremely fast, all over in a matter of a couple of minutes. And all we could do was hoot the horn for help.”
Park officials insist that visitors to the park keep their windows closed as they drive through the park because they allow lions to roam through the preserve.
66-year-old Pierre Potgieter, who was traveling in the same car as Chappell and was acting as her tour guide, was hospitalized in the same incident. Following the mauling of Chappell by the lion, Potgieter explained that she was “bleeding profusely from her neck” and he tried to stop the bleeding, even though he had also been attacked and had serious injuries to his arm.
A statement, via ABC News, explained that Potgieter felt that the decision not to take Chappell to a hospital instantly led to her death. An employee from the park is thought to have insisted that an ambulance come to them rather than driving the injured pair to a medical facility.
The statement added, “The employee appeared to do this, and left Mr Potgieter and the victim in the vehicle. The ambulance only arrived some time thereafter. For Mr Potgieter this felt like a very long time.” Mr Potgieter is reportedly “severely traumatized” following the tragedy.
Friends and family of Chappell, who worked as a special effects artist on a variety of programmes and films, including Game Of Thrones, have already started to gather for her funeral, which will take place in Rye, New York, on Saturday at noon.
[Image via The Count/HNGN]