Violet and Archibald D'Mello were posing with two cheetahs at the Kragga Kamma reserve in South Africa when one of the animals began attacking the woman, leaving her husband to photograph the event.
The British couple was on vacation in Port Elizabeth when they decided to stop at the reserve on April 28. Little did they know the seemingly innocent visit would consist of a life or death ordeal for Violet, the Herald reports.
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Violet, Archibald and a family with children entered a petting area with two "completely tame" male cheetahs.
The attention seemed to excite the cats, and one began attacking a young girl.
When Violet tried to intervene, one of the cheetahs jumped on her from behind, the Sun reports. And when a worker fended off the animal, the other cheetah pinned down the tourist, who eventually played dead to avoid further injury.
Armed only with his camera, Archibald managed to capture a series of terrifying photos of his wife's attack.
Violet received stitches on her leg and head and sustained injuries around her eye, according to the Sun.
Although Violet calls the experience a "nightmare," she acknowledges the animals may have not had malicious intentions.
"They weren’t being vicious. You could tell they [the cheetahs] were just excited, but it became serious very quickly," she told the Herald.
“We will have to evaluate what to do and if the pressure is on us not to let visitors near them then we will find another way of keeping them here," Cantor told the Telegraph.