Woman dies after tiger attack

A zoo worker who was injured in a tiger attack at an animal park in Dalton-in-Furness has died, Cumbria Police said. The 24 year old woman was in the tiger's enclosure when she was mauled by the animal at South Lakes Wild Animal Park.

Live updates

Family set up memorial fund after tiger tragedy

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.

The family said in a statement released through Cumbria Police:

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.

In memory of Sarah we are supporting her greatest passion, red squirrel conservation. With this in mind, should you wish to contribute to Sarah's Memorial, a donations page has been set up which ensures your money will reach conservation efforts that Sarah was involved in.

Advertisement

  1. Granada

Police investigate Tiger maul death

Police investigating the death of a woman at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Dalton are working to figure if human or technical failure led to her death.

Sarah McClay aged 24 years, was attacked by a Sumatran tiger whilst, police believe, going about her routine duties.

The enclosure concerned consists of a number of compartments both indoor and outdoor connected by lockable doors. Systems are in place the ensure that animals and keepers remain apart at all times. At some stage this has failed and the animal and Sarah came together with tragic consequences.

The police are working to establish whether this was a result of human or technical factors.

Police are not currently treating this as a criminal investigation. Until the investigation is completed officers are keeping an open mind as to the exact causes of this tragedy.

Our thoughts at this time are with the family and friends of Sarah and we will continue our investigation to establish the exact details of what happened as soon and as thoroughly as possible.

– Detective Chief Inspector Bob Qazi

Woman mauled by tiger died 'from her tragic mistake'

The owner of a wild animal park where a woman keeper was mauled to death by a tiger has insisted she died "from her own tragic mistake".

Writing on the park's Facebook page, zoo owner David Gill said she died "from her own tragic mistake".

Ms McClay, 24, was attacked by a Sumatran tiger at the park in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, on Friday afternoon after she went into its enclosure.

From the investigations that have taken place it is clear that this tragedy was caused by a sad error of judgment and breach of protocols, in essence, keeper error.

– David Gill, owner, South Lakes Wild Animal Park
  1. Granada

Zoo remains open after keeper death

South Lakes Animal Park is open to the public today Credit: Dave Brown, ITV Granada

The zoo where a keeper was mauled to death by a tiger is open to the public today.

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

She was taken by air ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital but died later from her injuries.

Today the park was open to the public as normal today.

Members of the public in the zoo Credit: Dave Brown, ITV Granada

Staff 'distraught' after colleague killed in tiger attack

A statement on the Facebook page of South Lakes Wild Animal Park has said that staff are distraught by the death of their colleague Sarah McClay:

We are very aware of the sensitive nature of the situation but after full consultation with Sarah's work colleagues, they have decided to ... open the park.

Here is not the place for insensitive comments, the staff are distraught at yesterdays events.

If any comment made in the hours after the tragedy of yesterday were interpreted as offensive then we sincerely apologise, it was certainly not intended to be so, you have no idea how desperately upset we all are and to receive the sick and offensive remarks that we did was distressing and has caused serious trauma to all Sarah's colleagues at the Zoo. We would be grateful for your support, your understanding and your prayers. the staff are in shock at the loss of one of their closest friends and do not need negativity at this time.

Thank you for all the many messages of care, love and support. We all need you to understand our grief as well as your own concerns. The park is a very safe environment and never at any stage were any other public or staff in danger. We have been given the all clear by the authorities after initial investigations yesterday and we hope you will allow us all to work through this tragic event.

With my deepest sympathies to Sarah's family and friends.

– David gill, owner, South Lakes Wild Animal Park

Advertisement

Messages of condolence and support on Facebook page

People have been leaving tributes to the Sarah McClay on the South Lakes Wild Animal Park Facebook page.

Many are defending the park's role in the incident and saying they will continue to visit.

This is just the BEST ZOO I've ever been to. You do such wonderful work. My thoughts are with you all and the girl's family.

– Carol

Such tragic news. My thoughts are with everyone who knew and loved Sarah. Our family love your animal park, and will be back to visit soon. RIP Sarah.

– Kelly

My heart goes out to Sarah's family and friends and to David Gill and all the staff at the Zoo. You all do a fantastic job up there and all those working closely with the dangerous animals are well aware of the potential risks involved in their role as keeper.

– Elise

Park owner pays tribute to 'bubbly, passionate' colleague

David Gill, the owner and founder of South Lakes Wild Animal Park, said Sarah McClay was "a very passionate girl, very enthusiastic" who was "extremely good at delivering conservation talks. A very valued part of our team."

She was "a very bubbly character, a very happy girl," he added.

Following Ms McClay's death the staff felt they wanted the park to carry on, Mr Gill said.

"There was a huge consensus of opinion that we should carry on. It's not the park's fault if you will. It's not going to do anybody any good if we closed."

Park owner has 'no explanation' for colleague's death

The owner of the wildlife park where a woman was killed by a tiger has said he has no explanation as to why she entered the enclosure.

David Gill, owner and founder of South Lakes Wild Animal Park, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "After investigation by the authorities here and the police, it does seem that she just basically failed to follow the correct procedures ...

"All we know is that no one else was involved, there was nobody with her, and for some unknown reason she opened a door and walked straight into the tigers."

Sarah McClay had worked at the wildlife park for a number of years and was "very proficient" in her work with big cats, he said.

He added that it was against strict safety protocols to walk into the tiger's cage and that the zoo had passed a major inspection on Monday in which it was praised for its safety standards.

Police investigate 'tragic' death after tiger attack

One of the tigers at South Lakes Wild Animal Park Credit: ITV Granada

Cumbria Police have issued a statement regarding the death of Sarah McClay, a zoo worker who died after being attacked by a tiger at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park.

"Cumbria Police can confirm that the 24 year old woman, identified as Sarah McClay from the Barrow area, who was attacked by a Tiger within its enclosure this afternoon, has tragically died.

"Sarah, was taken by air ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital this afternoon following the attack this afternoon at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park.

"Police and Barrow Borough Council are continuing to investigate the circumstances that led to this terrible incident.

"Sarah’s family are very shocked and distressed and request that they have privacy as they try to come to terms with their loss."

Load more updates Back to top

Latest ITV News reports