Skip to main content

Impala escapes cheetahs by leaping into tourists' car

By Chuck Thompson, CNN
July 12, 2013 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Quick-witted impala in South Africa evades cheetahs by leaping into an SUV full of tourists
  • Event captured on video by safari tourist
  • Tourist: "We saw the impala jump out of the bushes then someone started screaming, 'It is in the car!"

(CNN) -- A sharp-witted impala in South Africa's Kruger National Park evaded almost certain death when it came up with a novel escape plan.

In the midst of being hotly pursued by a pair of cheetahs, the impala leaped though the open window of an SUV filled with safari tourists.

The thrilling chase and bold escape were captured on video by a South African tourist in a companion vehicle.

"We started freaking out, going crazy; we couldn't believe it, we were absolutely dumbstruck," said 20-year-old Samantha Pittendrigh, who shot the video on July 5.

"All of a sudden we saw the impala jump out of the bushes and then someone started screaming, 'It is in the car! It is in the car!'

"People in other cars screamed 'Open the door! Open the door!'"

One of the passengers in the vehicle did just that.

The impala calmly exited the opposite side of the car within seconds of jumping into it.

The mystified cheetahs, meanwhile, abandoned the hunt as soon as their prey had bounded into the vehicle. They watched passively from the bushes as the crafty impala bolted to safety in the brush.

"My family are so jealous," said Pittendrigh. "In all the years my parents have been going to Kruger Park they have never seen anything like it and we do go regularly.

"It really is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and we managed to be in the right place at the right time."

Read more: School boy's wildlife-tracking website helps tourists spot big beasts

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0140 GMT (0940 HKT)
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0957 GMT (1757 HKT)
At these fun Los Angeles bars, the the drinks come with a chaser of kitsch.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 2041 GMT (0441 HKT)
From dining next to massive predators to drinking atop a rock in the middle of the ocean, Africa boasts some of the most interesting places to eat.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0512 GMT (1312 HKT)
Just weeks after Bill HIllman, known as a veteran, expert bull runner, was badly gored in Pamplona, he's back at other smaller bull runnings in Spain, but walking with a cane.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Why not create your own, as many people have done. We uncover the parallel world of "micronationalism."
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1341 GMT (2141 HKT)
LUSAIL CITY, QATAR: In this handout illustration provided by Qatar 2022, the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee today unveiled detailed plans for the iconic Lusail Stadium. With a capacity in excess of 86,000 and surrounded by water, the stadium would host the World Cup Opening Match and Final if Qatar wins the rights to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup. If Qatar is awarded the honour of staging the 2022 FIFA World Cup, construction of the Lusail Stadium will start in 2015 and be completed in 2019. It will retain its full capacity after 2022.
Grab a glimpse of the near future. Plans for the desert city of Lusail include man-made islands and a host arena for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0124 GMT (0924 HKT)
A CNN producer experiences China's poor on-time flight record firsthand as his plane takes off eight hours late.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0600 GMT (1400 HKT)
New Yorker Kerrin Rousset's exploration of Swiss city aims to lure cocoa fans over to the dark side.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2039 GMT (0439 HKT)
Some things are just better after dark. These experiences around the world prove it.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1559 GMT (2359 HKT)
Lebanon's winemakers are adopting new tactics to get their products noticed.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 0626 GMT (1426 HKT)
the Teufelsberg or
Spooks have left their mark on a once-divided city still thought to be an espionage hotbed.
August 24, 2014 -- Updated 2206 GMT (0606 HKT)
nanjing, handicrafts
With more than 6,000 years of history, Nanjing is one of the few cities in China still practicing the country's endangered traditional crafts.
ADVERTISEMENT