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American tourist mauled by tiger through car window

Victoria Messina is a journalism student at the University of Florida and a lover of coffee ice cream, world travel and patterned socks. She enjoys meeting new people and writing about street-style fashion trends or human interest storie...

Why you should think twice before embarking on an African safari

An American tourist was mauled to death at a safari park in South Africa after a lion pounced through her open car window on Monday. The tourist was 29-year-old Katherine Chappell, a visual effects editor who had helped create effects for Game of Thrones. Chappell was snapping photos of the animal just moments before the 9-year-old lioness leaped through the window. The driver of the car, a tour guide, escaped with serious injuries after attempting to save her during the attack. Though an ambulance arrived soon after, Chappell had already passed away.

The two were driving through the 20-acre compound with both front windows down, according to witnesses. Two families were driving only meters away from the car when the attack occurred, and they informed police that Chappell was snapping photos of the lioness just moments before it lunged into the car.

Chappell's sister, Jennifer, posted a tribute to her on Facebook Monday night, according to CNN. "Katie was a brilliant, kind, adventurous and high-spirited woman," the post read. "Her energy and passion could not be contained by mere continents or oceans."

This heartbreaking incident took place at Lion Park, located just outside Johannesburg in South Africa. The compound houses more than 85 lions, including rare white lions. Park officials said they tell visitors to keep their windows up while driving through the park but that visitors regularly ignore the rule. This isn't an out-of-the-blue occurrence, however, as this is the third big cat attack at Lion Park in four months.

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