A world famous tiger tamer was allegedly mauled to death by four tigers while rehearsing with the animals before a show in Italy on July 4.
Ettore Weber, 61, died of his injuries, which included severe damage to the spine, at Circo Orfei, Italy’s best-known circus, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno reported.
After one of the tigers knocked Weber to the ground, the other three attacked the world renowned tamer until he was dead, reported the Daily Mail. They then played with his remains for approximately half an hour, according to the medics who helplessly watched, according to La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno.
View this post on Instagram
The attack happened around 7:30 p.m.—one hour before the show was set to begin—at the circus, which is located in the Italian countryside near Bari, according to the news outlet.
Fellow circus performers also attempted to intervene and stop the attack but were unsuccessful, according to the paper.
Police are currently investigating the incident, the news outlet reported.
It is unclear what will become of the four tigers and if the circus will continue its scheduled run in Bari which was scheduled to end on July 14.
Zoo Keeper Killed by Malayan Tiger In England
The tragic accident recalls the case of a 33-year-old zoo keeper who died on May 29, 2017 from “traumatic injuries” after she was attacked by a Malayan tiger at Hamerton Zoo in Cambridgeshire, England, where she was working at the time.
According to The Hunts Post, a post-mortem examination revealed that Rosa King had suffered multiple lacerations, puncture wounds, abrasions, as well as a severed spine.
The attack—which is alleged to have occurred sometime after 9:40 a.m.—is believed to have happened on account of two of the steel sliding doors used to keep zoo maintenance staff separated from the animals being left in the open position.
A subsequent police investigation was said to have found the steel gate mechanism to be functioning properly.
An inquest is currently underway to decide whether or not the incident is a result of human error.
Rare White Tiger Kills Zookeeper in Japan
Akira Furusho, 40, was found by colleagues bleeding from the neck in the tiger’s cage at a zoo in Kagoshima after he had gone inside to clean the cage.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was later pronounced dead.
However, the tiger, a 5-year-old named Riku, will not be killed because the family of the zookeeper requested so.
— ABC News (@ABC) October 9, 2018
“We plan not to kill Riku and continue to keep it because the bereaved family asked us to do so,” Takuro Nagasako, a zoo official told AFP.
The tiger was sedated with a tranquilizer gun so that rescue workers could reach Furusho, according to the Guardian.
The attack took place late on Oct. 8 at the Hirakawa Zoological Park, according to BBC.
Local police officers said an investigation has been launched into how the white tigers are looked after at the zoo.
Riku, about six feet in length and weighing some 374 pounds, was born at the zoo, as were two of the other three white tigers currently living there.
According to AFP, the last tiger attack in Japan took place in 2008, when a Siberian tiger mauled a zookeeper to death.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.