American tourist killed in South Africa lion attack | News | DW | 01.06.2015
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American tourist killed in South Africa lion attack

An American visitor to a wildlife park in Johannesburg has been mauled to death by a lion that lunged through her open car window. Park staff have insisted that the woman was not following safety protocols.

An American tourist was killed on Monday when a lion entered her vehicle through an open window at a wildlife park on the edge of Johannesburg, South Africa.

According to Scott Simpson, assistant operations manager at the Lion Park, a lioness lunged after the woman stopped to take a photo. She died as paramedics were trying to revive her. Simpson told local radio that the 22-year-old visitor was at the park with a South African companion who "sustained some injuries to his arm" as he fought off the lion inside the car.

The man was taken to hospital, Simpson said, adding that park staff "rushed over immediately and chased the lion away from the car," but that they were unable to save the woman's life.

Open windows 'strictly against policy'

Simpson stressed that the pair had rolled their windows all the way down, "which is strictly against policy." He said the company would review its security policies, but he believed that the current rules were sufficient, provided they were followed.

The Lion Park is a favorite for tourists traveling through Johannesburg, as guests are permitted to drive through large paddocks where animals roam freely. The park also has smaller pens where visitors are able to pet lion cubs or take guided tours through cheetah enclosures.

The park's website boasts that "nowhere can you get closer to a pride of lions and other animals and still be completely safe."

Earlier this year, an Australian tourist was bitten by a lion in the park after he rolled his window down, and a teenager was attacked by a cheetah as he attempted to pass through the park on a bicycle.

es/cmk (AP, Reuters)