Friday, February 01, 2008

Teacher survives attack by 400lb lion, claiming 'it was only playing'

Teacher survives attack by 400lb lion, claiming 'it was only playing'

By JULIE MOULT - More by this author »Last updated at 18:20pm on 1st February 2008

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A British teacher's trip to Africa turned to horror - when a lion leapt on her from behind and clamped its jaws round her head.

As she was dragged to the ground, Kate Drew screamed in pain as the animal's teeth sank into her.

To add to her terror, two other lions were prowling not far away, waiting to pounce.

Luckily, tour guides were nearby and they tackled the 400lb animal, wrestling it away from her and saving her from more serious injury or death.

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Kate Drew sits alongside the lions before they turned on her in the savannahs of Zimbabwe


She was left needing 13 stitches in bite wounds - but it is thought the lion may simply have mistaken her for a playmate, because of her mane-like long blonde hair.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, I'm a goner'", said 28-year-old Miss Drew, from Hornchurch, Essex.

"I was scared enough when the lion pinned me to the ground, but when I looked up and saw the other two, I really thought I'd had it."

The primary school headmistress had been working as a volunteer teacher in Tanzania since last September and was spending a few weeks travelling across Africa on a bus with other backpackers.

As part of the trip, they visited a project where lions are bred to be released back into the wild.

Tourists are able to walk with several of the big cats which are considered tame enough to be allowed close contact with humans.

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Kate Drew

Kate Drew with bandaged head puts on a brave face after the attack


"I was a bit apprehensive, but we were just leaving and everything seemed to have gone well until this one lion jumped at me from behind," said Miss Drew.

Her 57-year-old mother, Carole, said: "She didn't tell me about it at first, because she didn't want to worry me or her father.

"I couldn't believe it when she told me what had happened. I was pretty shocked. She had told me that she planned to go walking with these lions and I said then that I didn't think it was a very good idea.

"At the first hospital, they didn't have a doctor, so they took her to a second hospital where they stitched her up.

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Kate Drew

Kate Drew walks alongside the lions in the baking sun


"She said it was very painful - she's had the stitches out and her head is still very sore.

"They said it had never happened before. They think that because she's got long, blonde hair the lion thought she was a playmate, another lion."

Her father Colin, a 57-year-old retired oil trader added: "My first reaction was to laugh. It all sounded so unbelievable.

"It all happened so quickly, but she was very, very lucky. However, she has an adventurous nature and it won't put her off."

Miss Drew was yesterday flying out on her latest expedition - to work with disabled children in an orphanage in Peru.


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