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The Florida zookeeper mauled to death by a tiger earlier this year screamed for help into her radio before the deadly encounter — but she was crushed before anyone could respond, according to an autopsy report released Friday.
Tiger expert Stacey Konwiser, 38, died of a fractured spine, a lacerated jugular and other neck injuries when she was attacked April 15 by a 350-pound Malayan tiger named Hati at the Palm Beach Zoo, the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner said, according to The Associated Press.
The autopsy listed Konwiser's cause of death as an accident.
Konwiser had entered the 12-year-old tiger's night house — an area not visible to the public and where cameras were turned off — when she was attacked.
The report said co-workers ran to the enclosure after hearing Konwiser's screams but when they got there, the tiger was standing over her bloodied body.
Records from West Palm Beach Police and Palm Beach County Fire Rescue show that medics weren't able to render aid to Konwiser until 17 minutes after the initial call to police. The medics said they had to wait for a tranquilizer to take effect on the animal before they could go safely into the enclosure.
Konwiser died at a nearby hospital.
The Palm Beach Zoo was heavily criticized for choosing to tranquilize the tiger instead of shooting the animal.
Palm Beach Zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter thanked the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner on Friday for "diligent and professional work," but said the report "contains what we believe to be inaccuracies."
A statement from the zoo said that all employees who responded to the scene had been interviewed and none said they heard her radio for help or saw the tiger standing over her body.
The zoo said Konwiser broke protocol by entering the enclosure, which a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released in May also concluded.
Konwiser had worked at the Palm Beach Zoo for three years after a stint at a zoo in Palm Springs, California.
Before Konwiser's death, the zoo said, she had given notice that she had accepted a job with the Food and Drug Administration, but they had tried to keep her on. Her husband, Jeremy Konwiser, also worked at the Palm Beach Zoo.