Typhoon, the 16-year-old-tiger who was supposed to be in another part of his compound at the time, pounced on a zookeeper at Kaliningrad Zoo, pinning her down for about 10 minutes.
"We heard screams, and the cries went on for a long time, for 10 minutes or so," one witness said, the Sun reported. "Then they subsided, before starting again. I couldn't show this to my child."
"My daughter and I went to the zoo and immediately to the cage where the tiger lives, but the sight was terrible," another witness said. "There were shouts, everyone tried to chase away the tiger. When we got there, the woman was already bitten, [and] all covered in blood. The tiger didn't move away. It was biting, even a feeling that it gnawed like [on] meat. People threw stones at him, all they could."
The attack took place near the fence that separates onlookers from animals.
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Witnesses threw stones at the beast to distract it from the woman. When that proved unsuccessful, some men threw a table and chairs from a nearby cafe over the fence at the animal. This distracted Typhoon momentarily, allowing the woman to crawl and hide in a backroom.
The zookeeper was immediately transported to the intensive care unit at a hospital in Kaliningrad.
"The patient was delivered to the hospital with multiple wounds to the body and limbs. She is conscious — her condition is assessed as stable but critical. There is no threat to her life," a local health ministry spokesman said.
The tiger was shot with a sedative by zoo staff when they later arrived and taken back to its cage.
Even though Typhoon behaved aggressively that day, he does not have a history of being violent toward humans, according to reports.