A German animal trainer was in a critical condition after being pounced on and mauled by three Bengal tigers at a celebrity circus event, a newspaper reported Thursday.
Some 200 guests watched in horror as Christian Walliser, an experienced tiger handler, was pinned to the ground by the tigers after he stumbled during the show in Hamburg.
Members of the audience, who had each paid 132 Euros (120 pounds) to attend the Dinner Circus, were on the starter of a five-course meal as Walliser came into the ring to perform his show with five tigers, The Guardian reported.
'Initially it looked like they wanted to play with him,' one of the audience told German media, but the tigers dug their teeth into Walliser's head and upper body, tearing off most of his left hand.
Other trainers came to his rescue within 30 seconds, using water cannons and fire extinguishers to force the tigers back into their cages. But Walliser was critically injured.