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American woman killed by lion in South Africa safari was a special effects editor on Game of Thrones

Katie Chappell travelled to SA on a conservation trip to protect wildlife

Published 03/06/2015

Chappell photographed herself travelling through London en route to South Africa (Instagram)
Chappell photographed herself travelling through London en route to South Africa (Instagram)

An American tourist killed by a lion while on safari in South Africa was a special effects editor who worked on Game of Thrones.

Kate Chappell was on a conservation trip in Johannesburg raising money for a charity that protects animals from poachers.

The 29-year-old was attacked and killed when a lioness jumped through her open car window at Lion Park in South Africa on Monday.

The other passenger in the car was hospitalised with serious injuries.

Ms Chappell lived in Vancouver, Canada but was originally from New York.

Ms Chappell worked for production company Scanline and did work on the popular HBO fantasy series - much of which is filmed and produced in Northern Ireland.

She also worked on Marvel's Captain America and the Divergence films.

The MailOnline reported that Ms Chappell's sister Jennifer paid tribute to her sibling on Facebook.

It said: "We are broken-hearted to share this news with our friends and family: Yesterday morning, while on a volunteer mission to protect wildlife in South Africa, Kate Chappell was involved in a tragic and fatal accident.

Katie was a brilliant, kind, adventurous and high-spirited woman. Her energy and passion could not be contained by mere continents or oceans. She was very much loved and shared her love for life with those she met.

Chappell's photo of her holding an Emmy for Game of Thrones (Instagram)
Chappell's photo of her holding an Emmy for Game of Thrones (Instagram)

"We cannot thank everyone enough for the words and support. It means the world to us during this difficult time."

The wildlife park in South Africa  open for business “as usual” a day after the incident, and said that the animal involved will not be put down.

Investigators have reportedly seized the woman’s camera, and believe she was photographing the animal right up to the moment it struck.

Scott Simpson, assistant manager of the park, said that visitors on Tuesday had raised no concerns about the incident just one day earlier, and that the centre was “operating as usual”.

“The park is not closed and it is not closing,” he said. “We have closed off where the incident happened, so those lions won't be seeing the public until we have had an investigation and we know what exactly happened.”

Witnesses said both the front windows of the car carrying the pair were fully down at the time of the attack, contrary to Lion Park’s clearly-stated rules, and another tour guide, Matthew Grace, said he doesn’t have any issues with the centre itself.

Mr Grace led his own tour group through the enclosure hours before the incident, and said: “I don't blame the Lion Park. They're wild animals at the end of the day.”

Earlier, Mr Simpson told the Mail Online that police believed the woman recorded the moments up to her death on her own camera.

“The dead lady’s camera was taken by police as evidence, as she was photographing the lioness through an open window up until the moment the lion attacked the vehicle,” he said.

“According to eye witnesses, the lion was walking near the vehicle and the visitor was taking pictures through an open window.

“Witnesses say that both front windows were down the whole time they were in the enclosure. The other lions in the area watched from a distance throughout.”

Additional reporting Independent

Further reading

Lion kills woman in S Africa park

South African Lion Park where American tourist was mauled to death stays open for 'business as usual'

American tourist mauled to death by lion in South African safari park  

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