NEWS

Tiger Mauls Zookeeper To Death In 'Freak Accident' At UK Zoo

Hamerton Zoo Park is closed until further notice.

30/05/2017 9:13 AM AEST | Updated 30/05/2017 11:08 AM AEST

A female zookeeper has been mauled to death by a tiger in a "freak accident" at a British zoo.

The zookeeper was attacked inside the enclosure at Hamerton Zoo Park at around 11.15am on Monday (8pm Monday AEST), Cambridgeshire Constabulary said.

"A tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper. Sadly the female zookeeper died at the scene," Cambridgeshire Constabulary said.

Visitors were evacuated from the zoo as police, ambulance crews and an air ambulance rushed to the scene.

A witness, Victoria Northover Holmes, had been taking photos of the tigers just moments before the attack.

She told The Sun she watched zookeepers desperately trying to distract the tiger by throwing meat into its pen.

"We could see staff members on the other side of the fence with pieces of meat trying to get whatever's attention," she said.

"It was heartbreaking seeing them trying to help."

Hamerton Zoo Park has released a statement, describing the death as a "freak accident".

"At no point during the incident did any animals escape their enclosures, and at no point was public safety affected in any way," the zoo said.

The zoo said staff were "too distressed" to speak to the media directly, but a "full investigation" into the incident was underway.

"We hope that more details can be announced as soon as we are able," the zoo said.

"All our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleagues friends and families at this dreadful time."

Cambridgeshire Constabulary said it was not treating the death as suspicious.

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