What should have been a fun day at a British safari park turned into a terrifying nightmare after a pride of lions charged at a family’s car.
Abi Tudge was traveling through West Midland Safari Park with her friend and two children when rangers had to shut the gates for safety reasons.
The park said it was temporarily shutting down because animals were too close to the gate, the BBC reported.
The pair, both from Hereford, became trapped in the section for around 50 minutes as wardens tried to control the aggravated lions before the gates were reopened.
Tudge’s friend, 28-year-old Jaz Reynolds, captured the heart-stopping moment as a pride of lions suddenly bolted toward their Hyundai.
The beasts leaped on top of the car’s roof and left behind a huge paw print-shaped dent, according to the Daily Mail.
“We were so [shaken] up and trying to make sure the children were OK,” Tudge told the Daily Mail. “The rangers were in their vehicle, but nowhere near the lions.”
She said if the lions had charged faster and at the window, it could have smashed open.
Reynolds added, “It was the last thing you’d expect to happen on a casual day out.”
Despite some dents and scratches on the car, no one was hurt during the encounter.
A parks spokesman told the BBC that the temporary closure was a precaution to prevent animals from “going between gates.”
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The spokeswoman said the incident occurred as a result of mixing males lions with females.
She said the male lions were in the process of being mixed with the females for months already, but due to the wild nature of the beasts “normally harmonious groups can on occasion become particularly active.”
The terrified visitors said they were horrified at being surrounded by the lions but didn’t want to scream in case of scaring the children.
“One of them went up on the bonnet, and another one managed to jump on the roof,” Reynolds told the Daily Mail. “They really got up close and personal.”
The visitors said the incident has not put them off entirely, adding that the children found it hilarious.
“Eventually the gates opened so that we could get out, and we just carried on our day as normal,” Reynolds said.
This is not the first time a lion has damaged a vehicle in a drive-through safari park.
South Africa’s Kruger National Park shared video late last year showing a male lion attacking a vehicle while a lioness, the male lion’s apparent intended mate, watched from nearby.