911 Calls About Child Who Fell Into Cincinnati Zoo’s Gorilla Pit Released
“My son fell in the zoo exhibit at the gorilla, at the Cincinnati zoo my son fell in with gorilla, there is a male gorilla standing over him,” the woman tells a dispatcher. “Be calm, be calm..He’s dragging my son, I can’t watch this.”
ABC News uploaded the call online.
Nine minutes later, Cincinnati Zoo officials shot and killed the 17-year-old gorilla out of fear that the boy would die.
Video footage of the incident shows the 450-pound animal, named Harambe, dragging the child around a moat.
Cincinnati police are now investigating the incident as well as the parents of the child.
The 911 call also shows preliminary references to the child being a girl, signaling initial confusion.
The family of the boy released a statement, thanking zoo staff and calling for donations in Harambe’s name. Meanwhile, they said the boy is “still doing well,” according to CBS News.
The family said they continue to “be thankful to the Cincinnati Zoo for their actions taken to protect our child.”
“Some have offered money to the family, which we do not want and will not accept,” the family added. “If anyone wishes to make a gift, we recommend a donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name.”
Thane Maynard, the zoo’s director, has defended zoo officials’ decision to shoot the gorilla amid a torrent of public scorn.
He told reporters, “They made a tough quick decision that saved one boys life. We stand by our decision that it was the right thing to do at the time. People can Monday-morning quarterback about the situation, but I am proud of the fast response and decisiveness of the team. It was a tough decision and we did not take it lightly to shoot our animal and it was a little boys life. There is no messing around with a 450-pound gorilla.”