Lion Attacks Trainer at MGM Grand Resort in Las Vegas

A lion exhibit at the MGM Grand Resort in Las Vegas turned frightening when a lion suddenly attacked one of the trainers in front of the horrified crowd. INSIDE EDITION has the story.

Onlookers were terrified as a 400-pound lion attacked a trainer in front of them.

One courageous trainer actually grabbed the lion by the mane as the other trainer scrambled to get away. Even after the trainer escaped, the lion pursued him. 

The attack happened at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The lion exhibit is a tribute to MGM's famed lion symbol. The attack happened moments after newlywed Drew Ellis posed for a picture.

"It was shocking. It really was shocking," said Drew.

She and her husband Titus were on their honeymoon in Vegas when they caught the dramatic attack on tape. They spoke to INSIDE EDITION via Skype.

Drew said, "It gets more intense almost, each time you watch it, a little more real. You can definitely see different things, the trainer who was attacked, his face, how scared he was. The female lion looked like she was trying to tell the lion to maybe stop doing what he was doing."

The couple feared the trainer was going to be ripped to pieces.

Titus said, "I was concerned at first if I should even film it. I  hesitated about stopping for a moment but I realized there was nothing I could do to help him."

The lions couldn't hear the noisy crowd outside the sound-proof enclosure. Moments before the attack they appeared calm. The male lion even yawned, and then started glaring at one of the trainers. Another trainer noticed something might be wrong and approached the lion. Then came the attack.

Famed animal expert Jack Hanna of the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium in Ohio believes the lion was giving a warning.

"If that lion was going to attack him it would have been over with in three seconds. So I don't think it was a full blown attack. I think the male lion was obviously upset at something because he kept pursuing the young man until he got out of the enclosure," said Hannah.

And Hannah says the lioness may have been trying to stop the attack, saying, "You saw how the female came over and got on the back of the male. I don't know if the female is telling the male to lay off. 'Hey what are you doing? Lay off this guy.' "