NEWS

Katherine Chappell, Vancouver-based Game of Thrones editor, ID'd as woman killed by lion

06/03/2015 03:40 EDT | Updated 06/03/2016 05:59 EDT
The American woman killed by a lion while driving through a private wildlife park in Johannesburg on Monday has been identified as 29-year-old Katherine Chappell.

Chappell, a New York-raised special effects editor, moved to Vancouver in 2013 to work on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones and on the movies Captain America and Divergent.

Chappell was a member of the Game of Thrones team that won an Emmy for the 2014 episode The Children, The Huffington Post reports.

Her sister Jennifer posted a tribute on Facebook Monday night.

"Katie was a brilliant, kind, adventurous and high-spirited woman," she said in the message reported on CNN. "Her energy and passion could not be contained by mere continents or oceans. She was very much loved and shared her love for life with those she met."

A funeral is planned for Saturday in her hometown of Rye, N.Y. Gene Guarino, director of the Graham Funeral Home in Rye confirmed to The Associated Press that Chappell was the victim in Monday's attack.

Lion attacked through open window

Chappell, who had travelled to South Africa to raise money for animal conservation, died at the scene in Lion Park, north of Johannesburg.

She was badly mauled by a lioness that lunged at the passenger side window of the SUV in which Chappell was taking pictures.

Park operators say her window was open at the time.

"They had their windows all the way down, which is strictly against policy," said Scott Simpson, assistant operations manager at the Lion Park. "The lion bit the lady through the window."

The driver, a South African tour operator, then tried to punch the lion and was scratched by the animal.

Warned to keep windows up

The Lion Park is a popular destination for tourists who can drive in their own vehicles through large enclosures where lions roam freely. Visitors can also pet lion cubs in smaller pens or have supervised walks through cheetah enclosures.

"Nowhere can you get closer to a pride of lions and other animals and still be completely safe," says the park's website.

The park would review its policies, said Simpson, but he believes existing safety measures are "more than adequate," if visitors follow them.

Big signs advise visitors to keep their car windows up and drivers entering the park are also handed a paper with the same warning, he said. The lion has been removed from the property, but there are no plans to euthanize it.

Second attack

Earlier this year, South African media reported that an Australian tourist was bitten by a lion when he was driving in the park with his windows open.

In April, a teenager was attacked by a cheetah when he tried to cut through the park on his bicycle, reported local outlet, News24.

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