Tape shows 911 dispatcher didn't help tiger attack victims

One of the men mauled in a Christmas Day tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo pleaded for help and asked why it was taking so long to get it, according to a 911 recording released Tuesday.

A dispatcher told the young man that paramedics could not come to his aid until they could be sure they weren't in danger of being attacked themselves, according to the recording.

One of brothers Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal made the 911 call, though it was not immediately clear which one.

“It's a matter of life and death!” the young man shouts minutes into the call.

“I understand that, but at the same time we have to make sure the paramedics don't get chewed out, because if the paramedics get hurt then nobody's going to help you,” the dispatcher replies.

Seconds later, the brother shouts, “My brother's about to die out here!”

The 911 dispatcher tells him to calm down before the frustrated caller asks, “Can you fly a helicopter out here? Because I don't see a (expletive) ambulance.”

By a minute into the nearly 7-minute recording, the escaped Siberian tiger already had killed the Dhaliwals' friend, 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr.

The brothers both suffered serious bite and claw wounds.

A lawyer for the brothers has said help did not arrive for more than 30 minutes after they first reported the attack. Zoo officials have said that zoo personnel behaved heroically during the tiger escape crisis.

Also at the zoo, officials said Tuesday, a zebra under medical observation was found dead in its stall.

The 9-year-old Grant's zebra named Lisa had been under watch since Sunday after it was seen salivating while on display.

The zebra had been brought indoors and placed on a “common equine medication,” officials said.

Bay Area NewsLocal

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