Tiger kills zookeeper in 'freak accident' in eastern England

Police said a tiger killed a female zookeeper Monday at Hamerton Zoo Park 130 kilometres north of London.

Rosa King, 34, worked at the zoo for 14 years

The Hamerton Zoo Park in Cambridgeshire was closed after the incident, but the zoo said no animals had escaped their enclosures and public safety was not affected in any way. (Hamerton Zoo Park/Twitter)

A tiger killed a female zookeeper on Monday at Hamerton Zoo Park, 130 kilometres north of London, police said.

"A tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper. Sadly the female zookeeper died at the scene," Cambridgeshire Police said in a statement.

The zoo said in a statement that a "freak accident" was to blame for the death. "Our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleagues, friends and families at this dreadful time."

The employee was identified as Rosa King, 34, who had been employed at the zoo for 14 years.

The zoo also posted a statement on its website, saying staff members were too "distressed" to speak the media about the death. The zoo is closed Tuesday while an investigation continues.

Police said they were called to the zoo late Monday morning.

The tiger never escaped from the enclosure, and police said foul play was not suspected in the keeper's death.

Visitors were evacuated when the incident began and an air ambulance was summoned to provide emergency help for the victim.

An eyewitness says visitors were removed calmly and that there was no panic.

The zoo said on Tuesday the animal had not been destroyed, and is unharmed.