A teen has survived a terrifying tiger attack at an animal sanctuary in Tennessee. Somer Stevens, 18, told Inside Edition that she was working at Tiger Haven in Kingston and was going to change the water for Eeyore the tiger, but she slipped on debris and fell towards the animal’s cage.
“I just stumbled over the debris on the ground. I fell into the cage, and then as soon as the tiger grabbed my hand, I knew that he had me and that it was over,” Stevens said.
The teen says that once the big cat latched on, he refused to let go.
“He grabbed my hand first and pulled my arm in further and just got it down its throat,” Stevens said.
She screamed for her boyfriend, who also worked at the tiger sanctuary. He rushed to help free her from the tiger’s jaws.
“He picked up a piece of bamboo off of the ground and put it through the fence and shoved it down the tiger’s throat,” Stevens said.
In body cam footage, she is shown lying in shock in her boyfriend’s arms after the tiger nearly severed her arm. She was then rushed to the hospital and has undergone five surgeries to save her arm.
Her attorney says the sanctuary has implied the attack was her fault because she was too close to the cage.
“Within minutes they’re painting a story that Somer did something to bring this upon herself that just didn’t happen,” the attorney said.
When asked if she was petting the animal, Stevens said, “No, I was definitely not putting my arm in with a tiger."
The sanctuary did not return Inside Edition’s request for comment about the incident.
Despite her nightmare attack, Stevens revealed there is a silver lining. Her boyfriend proposed the very next day.
“He just said that he loved me and he wanted me to be in his life forever,” Stevens said.