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Tiger kills 1, injures 2 at zoo

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Injured were in serious but stable condition with lacerations, doctor says
  • NEW: Authorities were notified of escaped tiger shortly after zoo's closing time
  • Fire department spokeswoman: Police arrived, as tiger attacked two patrons
  • All other animals were accounted for, says fire department spokeswoman
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SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- An escaped Siberian tiger attacked and killed one zoo patron and injured two others Tuesday afternoon in a cafe at the San Francisco Zoo, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Fire Department told CNN.


A San Francisco Zoo visitor attacked by an escaped tiger is carried away on a stretcher.

The tiger was shot and killed by police, Fire Department Lt. Mindy Talmadge said. Both of the injured victims were transported to San Francisco General Hospital, she added.

Dr. Eric Isaacs said the two men, aged 19 and 23, were in serious but stable condition with multiple lacerations.

"I believe there was probably some blood loss at the zoo, but here they are talking, they are alert, their vital signs are stable at this time," Isaacs said, adding that both men could be released as early as Wednesday.

Authorities were notified of an escaped tiger around 5:15 p.m. PT (0115 GMT), shortly after the 78-year-old zoo's 5 p.m. closing time, Talmadge said.

"Apparently right around closing time -- there was a pen with four tigers in it -- one of the tigers got out," Talmadge said. "The tiger went into a cafe at the zoo and attacked a patron. That person ended up dying at the scene."

Police arrived on the scene as the tiger attacked two other patrons, Talmadge said.

"They shot the tiger, and the tiger is deceased," she said.

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Talmadge said the 125-acre zoo was locked down after the incident and all the facility's other animals were accounted for, including three other tigers that had been in the same enclosure with the escaped tiger.

Initially, officials feared some or all of the other tigers may have escaped, but later determined they had not, Talmadge said.

Police, fire and zoo officials remain on the scene investigating, Talmadge said.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the tiger was the same animal that chewed the flesh off a keeper's arm during an attack last December that took place during a public feeding demonstration. The keeper survived and recovered from her injuries.

California's Division of Occupation Safety and Health later determined that the zoo was at fault in the incident because of hazardous conditions in the Lion House, which houses the zoo's large cats, and lack of specialized safety training for employees.


The zoo made OSHA-ordered changes. The Lion House was closed for more than six months after that incident.

The zoo has Siberian tigers and rarer, smaller Sumatran tigers. It was not clear which subspecies of tiger was involved in the incident. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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