Violet D'Mello of Aberdeen, Scotland, is attacked by cheetahs while being photographed by her husband, Archibald, on a visit to Kragga Kamma game reserve near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on April 28. | Archibald D'Mello~AP
JOHANNESBURG — Archie D’Mello was taking photos of his wife posing with a cheetah, then “it became serious very quickly” when she was attacked. He kept taking photos, which show show his wife on the ground, hair flying, blood on her neck, with two cheetahs nearby.
The Port Elizabeth Herald reported Friday that Violet D’Mello, a tourist from Aberdeen, Scotland, was attacked by cheetahs on April 28 while in a petting pen with the animals at a game reserve near Port Elizabeth in southeastern South Africa.
She was attacked while trying to protect young children from another group that was in the enclosure at the same time, the newspaper said. Her husband’s photos of the attack were published by the local newspaper and others.
One of the photos taken by Archie D’Mello shows Violet D’Mello smiling and posing with a cheetah raised by humans in the enclosure, before, as she told the Herald, “it became serious very quickly.”
One of two cheetahs in the enclosure first grabbed a young girl, leaving her with scratches and cuts that needed stitches, the Herald reported. Violet D’Mello tried to calm the child and her brother, and then she ended up being attacked. She told the BBC she had numerous bite and puncture marks, and that her scalp was “sliced open.”
The cheetahs “weren’t being vicious. You could tell they were just excited,” Violet D’Mello told the Herald.
The Herald said park staff and other visitors pulled the cats off her. The D’Mellos continued their holiday in South Africa.