A tragic ending for an ambitious woman.
The American tourist who was mauled to death by a lion on a South African safari has been identified as a 29-year-old film editor who worked on an Emmy winning episode of Game of Thrones – as the tour guide who tried to save her life relived the moment he suffered a heart attack during the horrifying incident.
Katherine Chappell, who was in Africa raising money for a charitable organization that protects animals from poachers, was killed by the lioness as she took pictures during a drive through the popular Lion Park, near Johannesburg, on Monday afternoon.
Her identity emerged as tour guide Pierre Potgieter, 66, told Daily Mail Online how he had suffered a heart attack as he tried to save Miss Chappell’s life.
Speaking to Daily Mail Online from his hospital bed, Mr Potgieter denied he had flouted rules at the safari park and put his client’s life in danger by driving with the windows open.
‘That’s not right… not right at all,’ the 66-year-old said in a phone call, ‘if that’s what they’re saying, that’s not the case. Not at all.’
Asked to describe the attack which killed his client, he replied, ‘It wasn’t good, dreadful. I’m still in a shock and daze about it.’
Corlien Potgieter, the guide’s wife, told Daily Mail Online the American’s death, ‘was the worst experience of his life’.
Speaking from her her home in Melville, the same suburb of Johannesburg where the dead woman was staying at a guest house, Mrs Potgieter said: ’It’s a terrible thing that has happened, truly unbelievable.
‘Here we are in the city of Johannesburg and a lion kills someone – it is beyond belief. It is so very sad, our hearts go out to this woman.
‘The cardiologist said my husband must have had a heart attack as he was fending off the lion, or just after. His wounds are clean and there doesn’t seem to be any problem with them, it is just his heart we are now concerned about.’
Mrs Potgieter has also spoken out to rubbish claims that both the front windows of the vehicle were open at the time of the attack.
In a statement released by her, on behalf of their business Kalabash Tours, said Miss Chappell had opened the window ‘of her own accord’, and at the last moment.
The statement also sheds more light on the tragic incident.
It reveals how, at about 2.30pm, Miss Chappell was taking pictures when the lioness attacked her through her open window – which was down despite advice to the contrary.
A statement released by Mrs Potgieter read: ‘The tourist had a camera and, of her own accord, rolled down the passenger window in order to take photographs. A lion then attacked the tourist through the open window.
‘Mr Potgieter tried to fend the lioness off and in the process sustained injuries to his arm. When the lion retreated, Mr Potgieter saw that the tourist had sustained extremely serious injuries.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk