People at Riyadh Zoo were left shocked on Saturday after a man jumped into the specified section of a bengali tiger right before their eyes.
Identified as Mohammed Abdul Mohsen, the 24-year-old Sudanese expat claimed he got dizzy and fell into the closed-off area where he was attacked by a tigress as onlookers watched in horror.
Zoo workers were alerted of the incident at 10:30 a.m. and immediately responded to the scene. They fired sedation shots at the wild animal before successfully managing to pull Abdul Mohsen out, Riyadh Municipality said in an official statement on the matter.
The man was taken to a local hospital where he's being treated for a set of injuries.
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In regards to the incident's details, ambiguity takes hold as the victim reported falling into the pit while authorities said the expat's actions were intentional.
Riyadh Municipality, and according to the man's statement to them, said Abdul Mohsen used a rope to willingly go down to the area where the wild animals are kept. The municipality further said the 24-year-old claimed he wanted to try to "train animals," as training wild creatures is one of his hobbies.
This specific version of events has been refuted by Abdul Mohsen, who spoke to several media outlets saying he accidentally fell into the area and didn't intentionally walk into it.
It is worth noting that Riyadh Zoo in Al Malaz has two sets of metal pedestrian barriers that separate the viewers from the animals; they reach midway the abdomen of an average-sized adult. There's also the space of two people standing back to back between both barriers, which means if someone is to faint and fall onwards, it would be quite impossible to land in the tiger's territory directly.
An investigation has been launched into the incident.
Abdul Mohsen continues to refute the initial version of events
In a news report broadcast by MBC, Abdul Mohsen refuted the story told by officials about how the incident unravelled.
Speaking from his hospital bed in King Saud Medical City, the 24-year-old told a reporter that he was visiting the zoo when he felt dizzy and fell into the tiger section. He made no mention of using a rope or attempting to enter the area.
The young man added that he was immediately attacked by a tigress and attempted to fight back but fell unconscious. He reiterated this exact same story in a statement he made on Rotana Khalijiya's Ya Hala program.