The day before 29-year-old American tourist Katherine Chappell was mauled to death by a lioness, the film-maker posted a photo on Instagram, laughing about the low price of drinks in South Africa.
The Daily Mail Online reported that “wildlife enthusiast” Chappell worked on an Emmy-winning episode of Game of Thrones and was in South Africa to raise money for animal conservation.
She was on holiday and had travelled from the US via London. Chappell was attacked at The Lion Park near Lanseria on Monday, allegedly after opening a window in the 4×4 she was travelling in, to take a photo of lions.
Her tour guide, Pierre Potgieter is recovering in hospital after suffering a heart attack while trying to push the lion away.
He denied ignoring the park’s rules and driving with open windows through the enclosures.
“That’s not right… not right at all,” the 66-year-old told The Daily Mail Online.
“If that’s what they’re saying, that’s not the case. Not at all.”
The tour company issued a statement on Tuesday, saying that Chappell opened the window at the last minute to take a picture.
Tourists who witnessed the attack, reportedly handed photos of the incident to police.
According to reports, Chapell was driving with a tourist guide with the windows of their car wide open.
Eyewitnesses say that Chapell continued taking pics even as the lioness approached. Her camera has been taken in by police who may review it as evidence in their inquest docket.
The guide who tried to rescue her says their windows were mostly closed while driving through the enclosures. One of the animals lunged through an open window, though.
The 66-year-old tour operator says their windows were closed throughout the drive until the tourist opened a window to take photographs of a pride of lion, when she was attacked.
Kalabash tours said in a statement that Pierre Potgieter fended off the lion and realised the 23-year-old was bleeding profusely from her neck. He then applied pressure to the wound and called for help.