Ove Brynervall, from Norrahammar, southern Sweden, was on vacation with his partner when the female lion attacked the safari party last month. A woman from Östergötland received eight gashes on her back from the lion’s teeth.
“She was seriously injured and was in hospital in Nairobi for about a week,” Brynervall told Jönköpings Posten.
His partner threw herself over the lion to try and save the woman tapped underneath. She is still shaken by the incident, and the group have therefore chosen not to tell their story until now.
The incident happened when the party’s Land Rover got stuck in a muddy stream. The lion attacked the five tourists and safari leaders as they got out of the car.
Brynervall saw the lion in the bushes five metres away. He thought at first that the animal would not attack five people in a group. But the lion looked as though it was preparing to pounce.
“I stepped back, and fell over some half-rotten branch that was there. ‘now the lion’s going to come’, I thought.”
By the time he had stood up, he saw that the lion was sinking its teeth into the back of one of the women.
“I got hold of a big piece of wood and hit as hard as I could against the lion’s neck. It just went thud – it felt like it had strong muscles.”
At the same time, his partner threw herself over the lion.
“She grabbed one paw with one hand, and got hold of its fur with the other and pulled the lion,” he said.
One of the drivers then came to their aid and hit the lion three times on the neck with an object that appeared to be a jack handle. The party had no guns with it. The lion then released its grip and withdrew. But it was only when Brynervall threw the piece of wood at the animal with full force that it wandered away.
Doctors at the hospital said that the party had been very lucky. The injured woman had serious bite and scratch injuries, but remained conscious.
“Her back was was extremely painful. She said she thought she was going to die,” Brynervall said.