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'I Can't Watch': Mom's Frantic Call to 911 After Son Falls Into Gorilla Exhibit

by Alex Johnson /

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The mother of the 3-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo can be heard urging her son to remain calm while she pleaded with a 911 operator to send help in audio released Wednesday.

The boy, who fell into the enclosure on Saturday, came face to face with Harambe, a 17-year-old, 450-pound western lowland gorilla, who pawed at him and dragged him through a moat while his horrified mother watched.

"There is a male gorilla standing over him," the woman tells the 911 operator. "I need someone to contact the zoo please!"

The woman calls out to her son to "be calm, be calm, be calm, be calm," and then she exclaims: "He's dragging my son! I can't watch this. I can't watch. I can't watch."

Related: Family of Boy Who Fell in Harambe Exhibit Asks for Donations to Go to Zoo

The call end with the woman saying she needs to call the boy's father." In the background, another zoo visitor can be heard screaming: "Hurry, hurry, the gorillas are out! Oh, my God!"

The tape was one of five released Wednesday by Cincinnati police, who said they're investigating the actions of the boy's family. They fill in events not captured on video shot by a zoo visitor.

Related: Harambe, Gorilla Killed at Cincinnati Zoo, 'Had to Pay the Price': Experts

Another caller, also a woman, said she saw Harambe slam the boy against a wall. Then — as people in the background yell, "Everybody out!" — exclaims: "Oh, God, he's taking the baby! He's taking the baby! He's taking the baby into the cave! Oh, my God!"

Zoo authorities soon arrived and shot Harambe to death, explaining later that trying to tranquilize the animal would have taken too long, further endangering the boy.

The boy's family said Wednesday that he's been checked out by doctors and is doing well.

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