A British holiday maker, 60 year old Violet D’Mello is lucky to be alive after being mauled by two cheetahs in an enclosed wildlife sanctuary frequently populated by tourists in South Africa.
She and husband paid £4.50 to go into the animals’ enclosure at the Kragga Kamma Game Park near the city of Port Elizabet, to meet two brothers, Mark and Monty, who had been hand-reared since birth.
The animals were supposed to be tame enough to pet, reported the New York Post, but the guide in the pen did tell Violet and her husband that at that time of day the cheetahs could be agitated.
Mrs D'Mello said: “It was terrifying and happened so quickly.
"They weren't vicious. You could tell they were just excited, but it became serious very quickly,"
“I was thrown to the ground and had to play dead while it mauled my legs and stomach.
The attack lasted around three minutes before park visitors and the park guide worked to free the victim .
Mrs D’Mello said it was obvious the cheetahs were only playing at first and her husband Archie, 64, a helicopter pilot, continued to take pictures.
The pilot said: “It was totally frantic and terrifying, a real melee. Violet was on the ground and the animal kept biting her head and thighs.
“I couldn’t do anything and the guide didn’t even have a stick to defend herself. The doctors said she was lucky to have escaped alive.”