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
April 13, 2014 -- Updated 2209 GMT (0609 HKT)
What's New York's most popular attraction? Which world city gets photographed the most? Answers are revealed by a new photo-tagging ranking.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1313 GMT (2113 HKT)
The lessons we learned and changes we made as a result of previous airline accidents.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
Bontá mia! An Australian chef takes home top honors at the Pizza World Championships in Italy.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 0806 GMT (1606 HKT)
Easter break packing tip: pants with elastic waistbands.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
Thailand is now celebrating Songkran, the Thai new year. But along with the watery revelry come deadly roads.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1223 GMT (2023 HKT)
Inspired by the Masters? Playing these courses will make you feel like a pro, even if you don't swing like one.
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 0730 GMT (1530 HKT)
A mother-of-two explains how to fly with kids without making everyone else on the plane hate you.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 0049 GMT (0849 HKT)
As the new season of "Game of Thrones" approaches, we pick out 20 stunning spots in one of its most oft-used locations.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
They're hot, they're popular, they're stylish. Now they're your tour guides to Italy's fashion capital.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
A quarter of the year's flown by, it's time to plan a vacation. TripAdvisor's list of Top Destinations should help.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0523 GMT (1323 HKT)
You may not have those $10 Heinekens and $6 bags of M&M's to kick around anymore. Happy now?
April 7, 2014 -- Updated 0725 GMT (1525 HKT)
Japan isn't a country to which you just show up and wing it. Here's how to arrive prepared.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
The Economist is latest to dogpile on the reputation of U.S. airports; one industry leader says he knows why.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 0623 GMT (1423 HKT)
Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve gave out bags of mountain air to Chinese residents. After seeing these photos, you'll want some too.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
Forget space. Our very own planet is ripe for investigation. Here are some of the spots we know least about.
ADVERTISEMENT