Tiger kills circus trainer in Mexico in front of spectators

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - An American tiger trainer was mauled and killed at a circus in north-western Mexico by one of the big cats performing with him, officials said on Tuesday.

Amateur video showed Alex Crispin Suarez, 35, circling around two tigers and making the animals turn while standing on low platforms during a performance on Saturday in the Indian village of Etchojoa in Sonora state.

As he passed behind one of the tigers, it suddenly stopped the routine, knocked Crispin to the ground, pulled his pants off and clawed at his neck.

Shocked spectators were heard screaming as circus employees rushed to the scene. One hit the tiger repeatedly with a metal stand, but the animal would not let go of its prey.

Crispin was taken to hospital to receive treatment, but he died from the massive blood loss suffered in the attack.

Environmental protection prosecutors launched an investigation to determine the conditions at the circus under which the events occurred.

Authorities were focusing on the handling and display of 11 Bengal tigers, an elephant, three camels, 11 llamas and two pythons.

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