By Rebecca Lewis @RebeccaSLewis


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Footage: Greatstock
Producer: Rebecca Lewis, Chloe Browne
Editor: Joshua Douglas

Caught: The leopard sinks its teeth into guide Curtis Plumb

A BRITISH safari guide has been hospitalised after a leopard attacked him in the open-top jeep he was travelling in.

Curtis Plumb, 38, was bitten and clawed in the arm after the predator launched itself at his vehicle in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

The mauling just after 1pm on Thursday was caught on camera by tourists, who watched the horrifying incident unfold before their eyes.

Tourists watch on in horror as Curtis tries to wrangle free from the predator

According to their eyewitness account, Mr Plumb stopped his vehicle full of tourists to watch the big cat after they spotted it in the bush.

It was then the predator suddenly attacked.

Unprovoked: The leopard is dragged under the front wheel as the vehicle reverses

The South Africa tourist, who did not want to be named, said: “The ranger peered over the side of the vehicle to see where the animal was. It was alongside him. 

"Without warning or provocation it launched itself into the safari truck and grabbed the ranger's arm. Fortunately he had a bush jacket on.

Not over yet: But the leopard does not give up after its injury

“What followed was insane. The occupants of the safari truck were screaming.

Hot pursuit: The determined leopard jumps onto the bonnet of the vehicle

“Some of the people seated behind the ranger tried to help by beating the animal with their cameras.”

Witnesses say the occupants of a Hyundai minivan travelling ahead then rammed the leopard with their car door. But it still did not release its grip on the guide.

Terrifying: The persistent cat runs after the reversing vehicle to the horror of onlookers

Mr Plumb was able to reverse the vehicle and free himself from the leopard’s grip – but even that was not the end of the ordeal. 

The eyewitness said: “The leopard charged after the vehicle and hunted it down.

Dragging its feet: The leopard appears badly injured after bystanders intervened

“It leaped onto the bonnet of the vehicle in an apparent attempt to get to the occupants. The ranger then braked and the animal fell to the ground.

“Again it launched itself at the vehicle. The ranger was left with no alternative than to take it out.

He drove over the animal's hind legs. It got up clearly injured. 

Licking its wounds: The leopard limps to the bush to recover

"The minivan then also went at it and drove over the leopard.”

The leopard was euthanised shortly after the shocking incident

Mr Plumb, who has been working as a guide for four years after moving to South Africa from the United Kingdom, was taken to hospital for immediate surgery. He is said to be in a stable condition. 

William Mambasa, general manager Kruger National Park said: “We would like to thank the tourist from another vehicle for his quick and decisive action as he saved the guide and tourists’ lives.

"It is suspected that the leopard was fighting with another one as its hind was badly injured - the other leopard was spotted in the area watching from a distance.”

Alive and well: A picture of the leopard taken just minutes before the deadly incident

In a statement South Africa National Parks said Mr Plumb is a field guide working for a private open safari vehicle company at Kruger National Park.

The leopard was put down after the incident, which comes just a month after a lion mauled 22-year-old American tourist Katherine Chappell to death in a predator park in South Africa.