A 22-year old American woman was killed Monday when a lioness attacked while she was taking pictures in Lion Park, a famous wildlife park in Gauteng, South Africa.
According to witnesses, the woman was taking pictures of lions while she was in the passenger seat of a car, her window rolled down. A lioness began to approach the car slowly and stopped about a meter away while the woman continued to take pictures. Suddenly the lioness lunged toward her and bit her through the window.
The tour guide, who was seated at the driver's seat, tried to fend off the lion and sustained injuries while doing so, but it was not enough to stop the lion. Park staff who were a short distance from the vehicle ran to the scene and drove the lion away. An ambulance arrived shortly, but the woman died while the paramedics were treating her injuries.
Lion Park gave the victim's family its "deepest sympathies and sincere condolences for their loss," The Washington Post reports.
Scott Simpson, assistant operations manager for Lion Park, said the woman had been warned not to travel through the park with windows open. Signs all over the park give the same warning to visitors.
"I really don't understand why people think it's okay to leave windows open," he said. "We make it so clear. We put up signage everywhere. We hand them a slip of paper when they enter the park," he added, The Inquisitr reports.
Lion Park spokesman Andre La Cock gave a similar comment, saying that the park has signs that "clearly state that all windows and doors should be closed and locked at all times," he told The Washington Post. He said that lions should be treated with respect.
The American Embassy confirmed that the tourist was an American but has refused to divulge the victim's identity out of respect for the family. They said they would assist the situation in any way possible.
Meanwhile, local police is investigating the incident.
Lion Park's normal operations resumed Tuesday and visitors do not seem to be bothered by the previous day's event.
"The park is not closed and it is not closing," confirmed Scott. He said the area where the incident happened had been closed off "so those lions won't be seeing the public until we have had an investigation and we know what exactly happened." The lioness that attacked was transferred to another location but will not be euthanized.