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Zookeeper killed in “freak accident” after tiger entered enclosure at Hamerton Zoo in Cambridgeshire

PUBLISHED: 20:15 29 May 2017 | UPDATED: 07:23 30 May 2017

A zookeeper has died at Hamerton Zoo, Cambridgeshire. Picture: Google

A zookeeper has died at Hamerton Zoo, Cambridgeshire. Picture: Google

Archant

A female zookeeper has been killed after a tiger entered the enclosure she was in.

Visitors were evacuated from Hamerton Zoo Park in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, a little before midday on Monday.

Police were called to the attraction at 11.15am to reports of a serious incident, while a Magpas air ambulance was on the scene 20 minutes later.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary said on Facebook: “Officers attended a serious incident at Hamerton Zoo Park, Steeple Girding, at around 11.15am today.

“A tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper. Sadly the female zookeeper died at the scene.

“At no time did the animal escape from the enclosure.

“The incident is not believed to be suspicious.”

A statement issued by Hamerton Zoo Park described the death as a “freak accident”

“We are sorry but our staff are too distressed to speak directly to the media, as one of our colleagues was killed at Hamerton Zoo Park this morning,” they said.

“This appears to have been a freak accident.

“A full investigation is currently underway and we hope that more details can be announced as soon as we are able.

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

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

“The park will be closed from tomorrow 30th May, and we will give more information as soon as we can.”

Eyewitness Jeff Knott, from Cambridgeshire, said staff had been “a real credit” to the zoo during the evacuation.

The 32-year-old told the Press Association: “We had been in the zoo since about 10.30am and heard/seen nothing until asked to leave about 11.45am.

“Staff were very calm and professional. All visitors around us were leaving in a very calm manner - no running, shouting or anything similar.”

Antonia Brickell from Magpas air ambulance denied reports that visitors had been “running in terror”, adding: “The visitors were safely evicted from the zoo.

“No animals escaped the enclosure, no children were injured.”

She also confirmed that the incident was not terrorism-related.

An EEAST ambulance service paramedic crew and two rapid response vehicles also attended.

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