A tourist captured the moment two lions pounced on their trainer at a circus in the Ukraine and posted the video on the internet.
The shocking footage was shot by Doug Shepard, an American holidaying in the Ukraine with his family.
The video shows a lion lunging suddenly towards trainer Oleksie Pinko, with another lion pouncing moments after at a circus in the city of Lviv.
Amid screams from the audience, Mr Pinko desperately tries to contain the rest of the pack of five lions with a steel rod, with blood dripping from his already injured leg and arm.
Another handler sprays the lions with a fire hose in an attempt to disperse them.
Mr Shepherd told CBS News: "Kids are screaming, and kids are only 10 feet (3 metres) away, and [my family was] probably 35 feet (10 metres)away."
He said Mr Pinko, who was taken to a local hospital for emergency surgery, had been bitten on the arm and knocked to the ground.
Mr Shepherd's wife, Masha, said she grabbed her daughter and started to run for fear the lions would escape from the ring.
Shepherd said he has seen "great performances" at traditional circuses but would have a hard time convincing his family to go again.
Mr Pinko is reported to have been in a stable condition after the attack.
- NZ Herald staff