Tour Guide Desperately Tried to Save Katherine Chappell from South African Lion Attack

Katherine Chappell was attacked by a lion while on safari.

ByABC News
June 3, 2015, 11:55 AM

— -- The tour guide who was driving with the American woman who was mauled to death by a lion suffered serious injuries and a heart attack while trying to fend off the big cat and then desperately tried to save her, despite an arriving worker's refusal to help, according to a dramatic new account by the tour company.

The statement also says the woman, Katherine Chappell, lowered her window to take a picture in the moments before she was attacked, contradicting earlier reports that she had been riding around with the window open throughout the ride, according to Kalabash Tours, owned by the guide, Pierre Potgieter.

"Mr. Potgieter strongly denies that they were driving around the lion enclosures with open windows," the statement said of the horrific June 1 incident at Fourways Lion Park in Johannesburg.

According to the account, the attack happened when the car "stopped to view a pride of lions," said the statement, which did not name Chappell.

"The tourist had a camera and, of her own accord, rolled down the passenger window in order to take photographs," the statement said.

At that moment, the lion pounced, leaving Chappell with "extremely serious injuries" including "bleeding profusely from her neck" and also mauling Potgieter, the statement said.

According to the tour company Potgieter, 66, sprang into action and tried to stop the bleeding.

"Under the circumstances Mr Potgieter tried his best to stop the bleeding and save her life," the statement said.

Potgieter reportedly tried applying pressure and called for help. But an individual, "apparently an employee from the park" according to the statement, who arrived on scene refused to drive them to a medical facility and left.

"The employee appeared reluctant to do this, and left Mr Potgieter and the victim in the vehicle. The ambulance only arrived some time thereafter. For Mr Potgieter this felt like a very long time," said the statement.

The attack left Potgieter "severely traumatized" and with serious injuries to his arm.

The park declined comment about Potgieter's claim.