Violet D'Mello who loved petting wild cats got a shock of her life when they turned on her. The British woman visited the Kragga Kamma game park in South Africa for her 60th birthday. When she was petting a pair of cheetahs, one suddenly bit a person's leg and then all of a sudden the cheetahs reared themselves to attack a seven-year-old girl and her brother. When Violet went to their rescue, the cheetahs pounced on her back sending her sprawling. Visitors to the park can pet cheetahs for a fee and this was one occasion when it turned nightmarish.
"It all happened so fast. After his sister was free, another boy tried to make a run for it. As I stopped him, something jumped me from behind," the Press Association quoted Violet D'Mello, as saying.
Park attendants and tourists tried to scare off the cheetahs, but it did not work. Curiously, all the while, Violet's husband was busy taking photographs of his wife being attacked by the cheetahs.
The cheetahs mauled her, and tried her best to escape from their mighty paws, but to no avail.
Then suddenly Violet realised that if she played dead the cheetahs would let go of her. "Something inside me just said, 'Don't move. Don't move at all. Don't react, just play dead,"The Sun quoted Violet D'Mello as saying.
Park attendants too tried all they could to pull the cheetahs away from Violet and fortunately one of their methods worked.
As the animals moved away, the park manager took Violet to hospital where she received snitches on her head, legs and neck.
"I have grown up with these cheetahs and they are not aggressive animals. It is almost like they wanted to play with the woman. What happened was that a young girl got a bit uptight and then ran away and the cheetah grabbed her by the leg. The trouble is that cheetahs, like dogs, don't have retractable claws and so they would have injured as they did so. The other lady [Mrs D'Mello] went in to assist and the cheetahs probably thought it was a play time," the Daily Mail quoted Mike Cantor, manger at the Kragga Kamma game park, as saying.
"It was a very busy day at the park, which may have aggravated them somewhat," he added.
Click here to see some of the pictures taken by Violet D'Mello's husband.