An American tourist died near Johannesburg after being attacked by a lion at a wildlife park, according to the Associated Press.
An individual who answered the phone at the Lion Park on Monday could not immediately comment to The Washington Post on the reports. However, Scott Simpson, operations manager at the park, has told multiple media outlets that the park believes the tourist was attacked through an open window while driving to the lion camp.
“We can confirm she was American and the consulate has been informed,” Simpson told the AP.
The U.S. Embassy in South Africa said in an e-mailed statement to The Post that it has “received reports of an incident involving a U.S. citizen at the Lion Park in Johannesburg,” but that it has “no information at this time” on the reported attack. The embassy “will be following up to provide any assistance possible,” the statement continues.
“We don’t know exactly what happened,” Simpson said, according to EWN. “We do know that there was a car driving to the lion camp and the lion did come through the window and it did bite the lady. Unfortunately, the ambulance arrived quite soon but the lady has passed away.”
Another person was injured in the attack, according to EWN.
The park requires visitors to keep their windows closed while driving through the grounds, Simpson said. Park officials believe the tourist’s windows were open, he added.
“We have signage up everywhere informing people to keep their windows closed,” Simpson told EWN. “We hand out flyers as they are driving in reminding them to keep their windows closed. We really do everything we can to make sure that people know that.”
Lion Park is one of Johannesburg’s “best-known attractions,” according to South Africa’s official tourism site, and functions as “a kind of hybrid between a zoo and a game reserve.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Abby Ohlheiser