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Zookeeper killed by tiger in freak accident

By Jemma Crew

A female zookeeper has been killed in a "freak accident" after a tiger entered the enclosure she was in.

Police were called at 11.15am on Monday to reports of a serious incident Hamerton Zoo Park in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

A Magpas air ambulance was on the scene 20 minutes later and visitors were evacuated from the attraction a little before midday on Monday.

The zoo said: "This appears to have been a freak accident.

"A full investigation is currently under way and we hope that more details can be announced as soon as we are able.

"At no point during the incident did any animals escape their enclosures, and at no point was public safety affected in any way. All our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleagues, friends and families at this dreadful time."

The zoo confirmed it would remain closed today while the investigation continues.

People took to social media to express their condolences following the female keeper's death.

One user posted on Twitter: "Terrible news about the keeper at Hamerton Zoo."

Another wrote: "A zookeeper sadly died earlier today at Hamerton Zoo. So tragic, their life was taken too soon. RIP."

Cambridgeshire Constabulary said the tiger involved was believed to be fine, as Twitter users expressed fears over what would happen to the animal.

The force posted on Facebook: "Officers attended a serious incident at Hamerton Zoo Park, Steeple Girding, at around 11.15am today. A tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper. Sadly the female zookeeper died at the scene.

"At no time did the animal escape from the enclosure.

"The incident is not believed to be suspicious."

Eyewitness Jeff Knott, from Cambridgeshire, said staff had been "a real credit" to the zoo during the evacuation.

The 32-year-old said: "We had been in the zoo since about 10.30am and heard nothing until asked to leave about 11.45am. Staff were very calm and professional. All visitors around us were leaving in a very calm manner - no running, shouting or anything similar."

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