Indian-Australian girl relives lion attack to raise awareness

Indian-Australian girl relives lion attack to raise awareness

A 15-year-old Indian Australian girl - who 'almost died' after being mauled by five lions - has shared her horrific experience at a wildlife park in South Africa to help lift safety standards, days after a US tourist died in a nearly identical attack in Johannesburg.

Neha Sharma, a high school student, was attacked by the animals during her trip to Kudu's Rus Game Lodge and Predator Park outside Johannesburg when the park ranger opened a cage containing five lions.

The animals attacked the girl and putting the ranger on the ground and then turning on the terrified girl.

The girl said she could hear "lions' teeth crunching" on her head and the desperate screams of her parents as the attack was going on.

"She almost died — she had an after-death experience that is how close she came to dying," Raghwa Sharma, father of the girl, was quoted as saying by the local media.
"My daughter is still healing — she will probably have to have the rest of the year off school," said Sharma, who is a surgical pathologist in Sydney.

The girl survived with injuries to her head, neck, chest, thighs and arms and spent five days in hospital in South Africa after undergoing surgery.

The western Sydney family is reliving the trauma of almost losing their daughter in the lion attack in February after a 29-year-old American woman was fatally mauled by a lion this week.

"With the American woman it sounds like an accident — a lion jumped through the window of a vehicle but with us it wasn't an accident. We told them someone will die and then I saw the report about the American woman and it was like we were reliving it all over again. We are lucky to be alive," Sharma said.

He said his family had no way of knowing they were in danger.
"Within one second my daughter was five or six steps ahead with the ranger. The ranger opened the cage with five lions. The ranger was attacked — we thought he was dead and my daughter was attacked," said Sharma.

"We were too trusting — it was like being brainwashed, they (the ranger) make you feel comfortable," he added.

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