Lion escaped cage to attack intern, officials say

Updated: 2013-03-08 14:13


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Lion escaped cage to attack intern, officials say

This undated photo provided by Paul Hanson shows his sister, Dianna Hanson. Dianna Hanson, a 24-year-old intern at the Cat Haven in Dunlap, Calif., was mauled to death by a lion at the exotic animal park on March 6, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

DUNLAP - The coroner's office says a lion used its paw to lift a partially closed door and escape a smaller cage before attacking and killing a 24-year-old woman cleaning a larger enclosure.

Coroner David Hadden said Thursday the investigators told him that the 5-year-old African lion had been fed when he charged at Dianna Hanson, breaking her neck and killing her with an apparent swipe of its paw.

Federal, state and local agencies have been investigating how the 550-pound (250-kilogram) lion and Hanson ended up in the same enclosure Wednesday afternoon at Cat Haven, which is located about 45 miles (70 kilometers) east of Fresno.

Hanson had told her father she wasn't allowed in the enclosure when lions were present and Cat Haven owner Dale Anderson said he was the only employee allowed in the enclosure with lions present.

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