Rhino kills zookeeper and seriously injures colleague at Austrian zoo

Rhino kills zookeeper and seriously injures colleague at Austrian zoo

Rhino kills female zookeeper and seriously injures her husband co-worker as he tries to save her at Austrian zoo

A rhino killed a zookeeper as her co-worker husband watched, sustaining serious injuries as he tried to intervene, Austrian media reports.

The woman is thought to have been trying to apply insect repellent when the attack happened at the Hellbrunn zoo in the western city of Salzburg.

Salzburg police said in a statement that while in the rhino enclosure, a 33-year-old keeper was attacked by the animal ‘for reasons that are still unknown’.

‘The woman succumbed to her injuries at the scene of the accident,’ a police spokesperson said.

While trying to scare the animal away, a 34-year-old male keeper was attacked by the same rhino and seriously injured. He was rushed to hospital and his life is not in danger

A rhino has killed a zookeeper and seriously injured her colleague, police said (file image)

The zoo said it would remain closed on Tuesday.

The incident happened during the morning rounds in which the animals are fed and treated with insect repellent, Salzburg Hellbrunn Zoo director Sabine Grebner told a news conference.

‘We do not know exactly how it happened,’ Grebner said, adding that the female zookeeper who was killed had suffered chest injuries.

The female zookeeper, a German from the state of Bavaria, was very experienced and specialised in rhinos, while the male colleague was in charge of animal feed. The declared time of death was 7.04am (0504 GMT).

The rhino involved was a female called Yeti, Grebner said, adding that all the rhinos at the zoo have been there a long time and are cooperative with their keepers.

Situated in the gardens of the Hellbrunn Palace, the Salzburg Zoo houses 1,500 animals and attracts over 400,000 visitors per year. 

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