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BBC Brazil correspondent Stephen Cviic
"Lion attacked with such force that the cage bars were forced apart"
 real 28k

Monday, 10 April, 2000, 21:07 GMT 22:07 UK
Circus lions kill Brazilian boy
Five circus lions in Brazil devoured a six-year-old boy after one snatched him from his father's arm and pulled him into their cage.

The tragedy took place as a tent full of spectators looked on.


When I looked up he was in the lion's mouth

Boy's father
Police sprayed the top of the cage with machine-gun fire in an attempt to scare the animals off, wounding two people in the ensuing panic.

The boy's body was recovered several hours later after officers shot four of the lions dead.

Safety

Jose dos Santos Fonseca and his son Jose were touring the cages during the interval of a performance by the Vostok Circus in the north-eastern city of Recife on Sunday night, when tragedy struck.

"He grabbed my son with his paws and pulled him into the cage, and when I looked up he was in the lion's mouth," Mr Fonseca told Globo TV.

Police said the boy and his father had apparently got too close to the lions' cage.

A circus worker who declined to give his name told the TV the lions had not been fed since Thursday.

Police are now investigating whether the circus owners breached safety regulations by allowing the public to walk right up to the cages.

The lion tamer has been charged with manslaughter.

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