Orfei Circus tigers maul trainer to death in southern Italy
Four tigers have mauled their trainer to death during a rehearsal at a circus in southern Italy.
One tiger set upon Ettore Weber, 61, on Thursday evening in Triggiano, near Bari, before the other three joined in.
They then played with his body in their cage until paramedics and circus staff intervened, local media report. He later died from his injuries.
Mr Weber, who worked with the Orfei Circus, is said to be one of Italy's best known circus trainers.
He had been training the tigers at about 19:00 local time (17:00 GMT) for a show called Animal Park, which was based on travelling around the world and seeing different animals.
You might also be interested in:
- 'You wouldn't annoy a 500lb predator'
- German circus uses holograms instead of animals
- Zoo attacks and the people who survive them
Among the other animals used in the act were camels, zebra and bison. It was due to be performed an hour later.
Local media report the tigers have now been taken out of the circus, and have been moved to a safari park.
Police in the area have also opened an investigation into what happened.
The Orfei Circus had arrived in Triggiano on 15 June and was expected to stay until 14 July. However, it is not known if the run will be cut short because of this incident.
Some 40 countries have partially or fully banned the use of wild animals in circuses, including 20 countries in Europe.