Prayers as lioness attacks car

2014-11-28 00:00

AS fear struck three holidaymakers in a car being chased by a pride of lions, they burst into prayer believing their lives were in imminent danger.

Trapped inside their small Toyota Yaris surrounded by a dozen lions at the Natal Lion Park between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, Mohammed ­Jada (17), Yusuf Suder (22) and ­Muhammed Salee (23) were ­convinced they narrowly escaped serious injury — and possibly death — when they were forced to take evasive action to escape an advancing pride of lions on Wednesday afternoon.

“We had just entered the park, ­metres from the gate, when we were confronted by the pride. I have seen numerous prides of lions and never once have I seen behaviour like this,” said a distraught Mohammed.

And circus baron and park owner Brian Boswell, who has run the park for well over for 40 years, admitted to have never seen such damage but he insists the lions were not ­aggressive but “playful”.

In a video of the ordeal seen by The Witness, the lionesses, whose growls resembled those of zombies in an ­apocalyptic movie, could be clearly heard as they circled the vehicle.

Eventually a fully grown lioness dipped in front of the car where it ­began to tear up the grill.

Mohammed, who was filming the incident, dropped the camera but the panicked voices are still heard screaming, “Don’t panic! Sh*t, reverse, ­reverse! What the hell, brah”, followed by fearful high-pitched prayers.

The car’s engine revs high as they look for a gap to escape.

“We felt trapped and it all ­happened just metres away from the security guard hut. No one came out to help us,” said Mohammed.

In their haste to escape and fearing hitting the lions, they hurtled off the road and through a ditch with the ­lions in pursuit.

“We reached the exit gate but no one came out to open. It was only after the lions turned around did a guard appear and open up.”

The trio from Lenasia were on their way home after spending a week’s­ ­holiday in Durban when they stopped in the park. They have now been forced to remain in Durban until tomorrow waiting for repairs.

“Somebody is going to get killed one day,” said Mohammed.

But Boswell, who said “no one” has “ever been killed”, said every precaution is taken to make sure people are safe and “informed of the dangers”.

“Their car grill seemed to come off as if it was never attached,” he said.

Initially, Boswell said that the “attack” could be linked to ­environ­mental activists in Europe, ­although he wouldn’t elaborate, and intimated that “patrons” would “smear blood” on their “old tyres” in order to have them ripped up by the lions, forcing the park to buy them a new set.

The trio caught up in this incident join a growing list of lion park customers who have had similar fates costing them several thousand rands in repairs. All ­maintain they were “not briefed” ­about possible dangers before hand.

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