The footage shows a lion roaring, lunging and striking, before another joins in – biting down on the trainer’s left arm. Tamer Oleksie Pinko is knocked to the ground as he desperately tries to herd the big cats out of the ring. At one point, one of the lions almost leaps out of the net surrounding the ring and into the crowd.
Pinko was taken to hospital to undergo emergency surgery and is said to be in a stable condition. The footage was shot by US tourist Doug Sheperd, who was at the show in the Ukrainian city of Lviv with his wife and two children. Sheperd told CBS News: “I’ve been to some great circus performances there. My son said, ‘I don’t want to go the circus ever again, and I don’t blame him.”