Lion attack proves fatal in Calif.

  • Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013 12:42 a.m.
This 2012 photo provided by KFSN-TV shows a 4-year-old male African lion named Couscous at Cat Haven, a private wild animal park in Dunlap, Calif. Authorities say the lion killed a female intern-volunteer on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at Cat Haven, where the cat had been raised since it was a cub. The intern was attacked and fatally injured after getting into an enclosure with the lion, Fresno County sheriff's Sgt. Greg Collins said. (AP Photo/KFSN-TV) OUT KGPE, KSEE, KMPH, KFTV; FRESNO BEE OUT, VISALIA TIMES-DELTA OUT
This 2012 photo provided by KFSN-TV shows a 4-year-old male African lion named Couscous at Cat Haven, a private wild animal park in Dunlap, Calif. Authorities say the lion killed a female intern-volunteer on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at Cat Haven, where the cat had been raised since it was a cub. The intern was attacked and fatally injured after getting into an enclosure with the lion, Fresno County sheriff's Sgt. Greg Collins said. (AP Photo/KFSN-TV) OUT KGPE, KSEE, KMPH, KFTV; FRESNO BEE OUT, VISALIA TIMES-DELTA OUT

DUNLAP, Calif. (AP) — Authorities said Thursday they believe a lion killed a 24-year-old volunteer at a Central California animal park after it escaped from a feeding cage and attacked her while she was cleaning its larger enclosure area.

Fresno County Coroner David Hadden said Dianna Hanson died when the 550-pound lion broke her neck, apparently with a swipe of a paw. Investigators believe the 5-year-old male African lion used a paw to lift a partially open door that was meant to keep him in a cage and out of the enclosure while Hanson cleaned.


Hadden said Hanson was talking with a co-worker on a cellphone in the moments before she was killed. The co-worker became concerned when the conversation ended abruptly.

Sheriff’s deputies shot Cous Cous after he couldn’t be coaxed away from Hanson’s body. Hadden said the investigation continues.

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