THERE’S always a chance things could go dangerously wrong on safari. There’s an even bigger chance when the tour buggy has no doors, giving giant predators easy access to the sightseers inside.

And when the safari park is not somewhere in Africa but instead in Russian-annexed Crimea – yeah, it could well be a recipe for disaster.

So these tourists were remarkably lucky to escape with their lives when an untethered lion barged into their tour buggy at the Taigan Safari Park in Crimea – where a woman was attacked just weeks ago.

 

The lion approaches the buggy filled with tourists … Picture: East 2 West News
The lion approaches the buggy filled with tourists …

 

… And climbs right in. Picture: East 2 West News
… And climbs right in. Picture:

 

Park owner Oleg Zubkov gives the big cat some room in the front seat. Picture: East 2 West News
Park owner Oleg Zubkov gives the big cat some room in the front seat. Picture:

Fortunately the two-year-old lion, Filya, was in a friendly mood when it strolled up to the buggy, climbed across tourists’ laps and gave a woman a lick on the face.

The lion even allowed the park’s owner Oleg Zubkov give it a few pats to the head.

But the friendly encounter came just weeks after a Russian tourist was attacked by another lion, called Vitya, at the same park.

 

The two-year-old lion just wanted some cuddles. Picture: East 2 West News
The two-year-old lion just wanted some cuddles. Picture:

 

Tourists were quick to snap photos of the incredible encounter. Picture: East 2 West News
Tourists were quick to snap photos of the incredible encounter. Picture:

 

The lion even went in for a friendly lick. Picture: East 2 West News
The lion even went in for a friendly lick. Picture:

Olga Solomina, 46, said the lion “bit through my right arm and used it to drag me … like a pupp

“When I got back to my senses, I was already in the hands of the park’s staff who were helping me.

“When it happened, right at the moment of the incident, I actually said goodbye to my life.

“I thought I was to be torn apart.”

She said Mr Zubkov, the park’s owner, helped to bandage her bleeding wound.

“Then he rushed me to the park’s medical point,” she said.

 

Olga Solomina was mauled by a lion at the Taigan Safari Park in Crimea. Picture: East 2 West News
Olga Solomina was mauled by a lion at the Taigan Safari Park in Crimea. Picture:

Mr Zubkov said he didn’t realise Ms Solomina has been drinking alcohol before coming into the big cat enclosure.

“She came inside and started ruffling the lions’s mane,” he said.

“Vitya the lion came close to her and pulled her away by her arm. She wasn’t pulled forcefully into the park. She knew this was a dangerous site.”

The zolex reported Mr Zubkov, had a “remarkable track record” in taming big cats and insisted guests were safe if they followed his advice when getting up-close-and-personal to the animals.

Zolex Reporters
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