JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - A 29-year-old American woman who has now been identified as Katherine Chappell of Rye, New York. She had gone to Africa to further her campaign for animal rights and preservation which was her passion.
Katherine who was also a visual affects editor on the popular American HBO series Game of Thrones. The vibrant, young, energetic woman was attacked by a lioness who suddenly charged at the vehicle, bit her and dragged to her death in Gauteng Lion Park.
Despite numerous signs and a pamphlet reiterating the dangers of rolling down windows while in the park, she failed to heed the warnings and was taking photos through an open window. After the tragic incident one of the advisory pamphlets was found right next to her seat.
Witnesses say that they saw the lion approach the car from the left side where the woman was taking photos. Scant seconds later, the lion had the woman's body in his mouth, dragging her through the open window and away from the car.
It is believed that the man in the car with her was a guide, and despite his best efforts to beat back the lion during the attack, he only succeeded in sustaining injuries, though these weren't life-threatening. Park workers eventually chased the lion away and paramedics were called to the scene. However, her injuries were too severe and she was pronounced dead.
By all accounts she was on a 'routine' drive through the 20-acre compound containing about a dozen big cats. The park has had prior incidents of injuries, and these incidents were also as a result of patrons failure to heed the park rules, regulations, and warnings. It appears, however, that none of these incidents ever resulted in fatalities.
Scott Simpson, the Assistant Operations Manager of the park, stopped short of blaming the victim, but did state that 'there are numerous signs, and we hand out slips of paper to all guests warning them to keep their windows closed."
Gauteng Lion Park boasts a variety of animals, including lions, zebras, giraffes and wild dogs.