Indian-Australian girl recalls lion attack

Sydney, June 4 (IANS) An Indian-Australian schoolgirl recalled how she was mauled by lions in South Africa after an American tourist was killed by a lion, the media reported on Thursday.

After the death of the US tourist on June 2 at the Lion Park in Johannesburg, Neha Sharma, 15, related how she heard the lions’ teeth crunching on her head, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

Sharma’s horrific experience was made public in an effort to improve safety standards and protect other tourists from similar lion attacks, the daily said.

Sharma recalled how a park ranger at the Kudus Rus game lodge, near Johannesburg, led her into a cage of five lions before her parents could follow her.

She was suddenly encircled by the animals, who blocked the cage gate and then attacked.

The ranger pretended to be dead while the lions attacked the girl inside the enclosure.

“The lions were as tall as me and attacked my head… I could hear lions’ teeth crunching on my head and biting my arms and chest. While I was passing out I could hear mum and dad screaming for help,” she said.

“Neha regained consciousness and was able to fight off the lions and flee the enclosure although she has no recollection of this,” said her father.

Receiving extensive injuries to her head, neck, chest, thighs and arms, Sharma spent five days in a hospital in South Africa after undergoing surgery.

She has not yet returned to school and continues to be treated weekly by a psychologist and plastic surgeon at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney.

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