Tiger attacks zookeeper at San Antonio Zoo

by Janice Carpio

WOAI News, San Antonio

A San Antonio zookeeper is recovering after surviving a tiger attack.

A Sumatran tiger attacked the keeper Saturday afternoon.
That zookeeper fought his way free from the grips of a tiger and was quickly airlifted to a nearby hospital.

It was a terrifying time for the families at the zoo.

Many people heard screams coming out of the tiger exhibit.

"We were close to where the tigers were and we just heard screaming and all the workers started running towards the tiger pen," said Valerie Carter, a zoo visitor who was near the tiger enclosure when the attack took place.

It wasn't the experience many families here were hoping for.

"I heard he was in the pen working when the tiger grabbed him and pulled him out into the back part," said Carter.

Many of them heard screaming as the young zookeeper fought for his life.

Some parents' first reaction was to get out.

"Obviously if something like that happens I need to get my children out," explained Angela Stacey.

The zookeeper was working alone when he was attacked, and still he managed to escape the tiger's grip.

The keeper is now in satisfactory condition and resting comfortably at San Antonio's  University Hospital.

As for the tiger -- he'll remain at the zoo.

The zoo has reopened and is giving free passes and refunds to the families affected Saturday.