NEW: Doctors able to save woman's arm, zoo says
Worker violated protocol by sticking her hand inside the cage
Her jacket was caught in the cage wire and she got stuck
The zoo owner says the tiger will not be put down
Doctors were able to save the arm of an Oklahoma zoo worker after a tiger bit it Saturday, according to the zoo’s Facebook page.
“She has a long road of repairs ahead of her but this is a miracle,” the post said.
The unidentified employee, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition after surgery, said Undersheriff Jim Mullett of Garvin County, about 40 miles south of Oklahoma City. She was awake and speaking on the phone later Saturday, the zoo said.
The incident occurred about 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET) at The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood.
“A female worker violated safety protocol and placed her hand inside (an) adult male tiger cage,” read a statement from zoo owner Joe Schreibvogel.
“She was wearing a large goose down jacket which got bunched up inside the cage wire not allowing her to get her hand back outside the cage wire fast enough and the tiger grabbed her hand pulling her left arm through a 4-inch-square hole.”
Park medics arrived within two minutes, Schreibvogel said, and the woman was airlifted to OU Medical Center for surgery.
“The tiger will not be put down and our thoughts and prayers are with the member of our staff that was injured,” Schreibvogel said.
“During the entire event she (the employee) was awake and saying it was her fault and plans to return to work.”
Workers at the zoo told CNN affiliate KFOR that the 14-year-old tiger has never shown any aggression and has never hurt anyone before.
Schreibvogel told KFOR that Saturday’s event is the first time there’s ever been an injury at his zoo.