An impala escaped a cheetah by jumping into a car, narrowly avoiding the big cat's teeth and claws in the process. The tourists in the video were on safari in South Africa's Kruger National Park when the incident took place, and now the "once-in-a-lifetime" event has gone viral.
The impala that escaped the cheetah was running along with the herd while being chased by multiple cheetahs. After getting across the road and apparently being cornered by the big cats, one impala turned around and headed for the only bastion of safety left- the open windows of a silver Toyota SUV.
"We started freaking out going crazy," Samantha Pittendrigh, a 20-year-old university student who filmed the incident, told The Telegraph. "We couldn't believe it- we were absolutely dumbstruck. We had absolutely no idea what was going on. We watched the cheetah chasing the impala. We saw a few of them turn around in the bushes towards the road they were running from."
Then Pittendrigh and her friends- Tanith Human, 20, Carmen Thvle, 21, and Michelle De Jager, 21- heard screaming once the impala entered the vehicle. Kruger park rules state that passengers must remain in their vehicles at all times and cheetahs were darting in between cars, so those in the vehicle did all they could do.
"We heard a little girl screaming in the car," Pittendrigh recounted. "The boy sitting outside the car filming looked a lot younger, so it must have been a family. People in other cars screamed 'open the door, open the door!'"
Finally someone in the SUV opened the door and the impala managed to escape the cheetah's wrath. In the pandemonium about 12 feet away, one of the other impala had been caught and killed by the speedy predators. Pittendrigh, who has been to the park before, said it's the kind of thing you only see once.
"My family are so jealous. In all the years my parents have been going to Kruger Park they have never seen anything like it and we do go regularly," she told The Telegraph. "'It really is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and we managed to be in the right place at the right time."
A video of the incident has gone viral, getting 3.7 million hits in only a few days.