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Tiger mauling victim's family thanks public for support

The family of a woman who was mauled to death by a tiger has thanked the public for their support and sympathy.

Sarah McClay (24) was attacked by a Sumatran tiger at South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, on Friday afternoon.

Police said an elaborate enclosure of gates means the animals and its keepers should remain apart at all times – but this system failed with fatal consequences.

Detectives said they do not suspect foul play or suicide but that Ms McClay was doing her routine duties in an enclosure which animals are not allowed access to when she was confronted by the animal which had somehow managed to gain access to the pen.

Police are now trying to establish whether this was due to a technical fault or human error.

The family of Ms McClay said in a statement released through Cumbria Police: "We'd like to thank you all for your kind words. We are still coming to terms with what has happened.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank the valiant efforts of Cumbria Ambulance Service, the North West Air Ambulance and the Royal Preston Hospital.

"Investigations are ongoing and it may be some time before a full picture emerges of what happened and how this tragic accident came to pass."

David Gill, the owner and founder of South Lakes Wild Animal Park, said Sarah McClay died because of "keeper error" and a "sad error of judgment".

Writing on the park's Facebook page, Mr Gill added: "This tragedy was caused by a sad error of judgment and breach of protocols, in essence, keeper error."

Belfast Telegraph