Zoo tiger escapes, kills - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Zoo tiger escapes, kills

Emergency personnel carry a San Francisco Zoo visitor attacked by an escaped tiger away on a stretcher. Emergency personnel carry a San Francisco Zoo visitor attacked by an escaped tiger away on a stretcher.
The 300-pound Tatiana, in an undated photo, escaped and killed a visitor Tuesday at the San Francisco Zoo. The 300-pound Tatiana, in an undated photo, escaped and killed a visitor Tuesday at the San Francisco Zoo.
Investigators on Wednesday will try to determine how a Siberian tiger escaped from her enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo the day before, killing one zoo visitor and mauling two others.

Authorities planned a thorough sweep of the grounds to look for clues they may have missed in the dark Tuesday evening, according to The Associated Press.

Police shot and killed the tiger, San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Mindy Talmadge said. The surviving victims were transported to San Francisco General Hospital, she said.

Dr. Eric Isaacs said the two injured men, ages 19 and 23, were in serious but stable condition with multiple lacerations.

"I believe there was probably some blood loss at the zoo, but here they are talking, they are alert, their vital signs are stable at this time," Isaacs said

He said that both could be released as early as Wednesday.

Talmadge said authorities were notified of an escaped tiger about 15 minutes after the 78-year-old zoo's 5 p.m. PT closing time.

"Apparently right around closing time -- there was a pen with four tigers in it -- one of the tigers got out," Talmadge said. "The tiger went into a cafe at the zoo and attacked a patron. That person ended up dying at the scene."

Police arrived as the animal attacked two other patrons, Talmadge said.

"They shot the tiger, and the tiger is deceased," she said.

Talmadge said the 125-acre zoo was locked down and all the facility's other animals were accounted for, including three other tigers that had been in the same enclosure with the escaped animal.

Initially, officials feared some or all of the other tigers might have escaped but later determined they had not, Talmadge said.

The tiger that escaped, a 300-pound female named Tatiana, did not escape through an open door, Robert Jenkins, the zoo's director of animal care and conservation, told the AP.

Jenkins could not explain how the tiger got out, since the enclosure has a 15-foot moat and 20-foot walls, the AP reported.

"There was no way out through the door," Jenkins told the AP. "The animal appears to have climbed or otherwise leapt out of the enclosure."

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the tiger was the same animal that chewed the flesh off a keeper's arm in an attack last December during a public feeding demonstration.

California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health later determined that the zoo was at fault because of hazardous conditions in the Lion House, which houses the zoo's large cats, and lack of specialized safety training for employees, according to the Chronicle. The Lion House was closed for more than six months after the mauling, the paper reported, and the zoo made changes that the state safety division ordered.

Along with Siberian tigers, an endangered species, the zoo has rarer and smaller Sumatran tigers.

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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