A rhino at a zoo in Austria killed a keeper and seriously injured another in a freak attack this morning.
The fatal incident happened at Hellbrunn Zoo in the western city of Salzburg.
Police said in a statement that during routine work in the rhino enclosure, a 33-year-old keeper was attacked by the animal ‘for reasons that are still unknown’.
A spokesperson for the force said: ‘The woman succumbed to her injuries at the scene of the accident.’
Witnessing the gruesome attack, her 34-year-old colleague stepped in to help.
He tried to scare the rhino away, but was also attacked and seriously injured. He was taken to the hospital, but his condition is currently unknown.
Zoo director Sabine Grebner told local media the victim had been assigned to smear the rhinos with an insect stick to prevent insect bites.
This is when the animal acted out and attacked the woman.
Grebner added: ‘She was very careful and thoughtful with the animals, and she had an extremely good instinct for animals.’
The exact circumstances of how the accident occurred are to be determined, but the director stressed that all safety regulations will also be evaluated.
Hellbrunn Zoo confirmed it would remain closed for the rest of the day.