US Tourist Killed by Lion Worked on Game of Thrones

NY native Katherine Chappell, 29, suffered fatal wound to neck
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2015 9:07 AM CDT
US Tourist Killed by Lion Worked on Game of Thrones
A general view of an enclosure of the Lion Park in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

Katherine Chappell, the American who died at a South African lion park, was an Emmy-winning special-effects editor for Game of Thrones. The 29-year-old New York native, on a trip to raise money for anti-poaching initiatives, was driving through the park with independent tour guide Pierre Potgieter, 66, when a 9-year-old lioness approached. As it stood a yard away, Chappell began taking photos through an open window. Suddenly, the lion pounced, biting Chappell on the neck. The guide "tried to fend the lioness off," Potgieter’s wife says in a statement, per the Telegraph. "When the lion retreated, Mr. Potgieter saw that the tourist had sustained extremely serious injuries. ... She was bleeding profusely from her neck."

Park officials say Chappell, who worked for Scanline in Vancouver, Canada, was seen in a vehicle that had its windows lowered. Two families in the park at the time "both reported that the windows were fully down, passenger and driver's side," a park rep tells the Telegraph. However, "that's not the case," Potgieter tells the Daily Mail; he's recovering from a heart attack and serious injuries to his arms. Park officials are analyzing photos from Chappell's camera and those taken by the families in the park at the time. The lioness won’t be put down but has been moved to a solitary pen, NBC News reports. Chappell, who also worked on films such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, was part of a team that won a 2014 Emmy for Game of Thrones episode "The Children." Her family describes her as a "brilliant, kind, adventurous, and high-spirited" woman, whose "energy and passion could not be contained by mere continents or oceans." (More lion stories.)

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