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Escaped Tiger Kills Man in Tbilisi, Georgia, After Flood Damages Zoo

by Emmanuelle Saliba and Sofia Chaava /  / Updated 

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TBILISI, Georgia — A tiger that escaped from a zoo killed a man Wednesday before being fatally shot by police after four days on the run.

Surging floodwater destroyed enclosures at the Tbilisi Zoo over the weekend, killing some animals and letting others loose. On Tuesday, emergency officials said that all of the dangerous creatures that had fled had been killed or captured.

The white tiger attacked the middle-aged victim at an abandoned silk factory now used as a storage site about a third of a mile from the zoo.

Image: Police officer stands next to a white tiger killed by police in Tbilisi, Georgia
A police officer stands next to a white tiger killed by police in Tbilisi, Georgia, on Wednesday.IRAKLI GEDENIDZE / Reuters

"We entered the depot and, suddenly, a white tiger rushed out of an adjacent room and attacked one of the workers, jumping at his throat and mauling him," colleague Alexander Shavbulashvili told The Associated Press. "We broke the window of another room to flee, and the sound of breaking glass must have scared it and it ran away."

It was later shot by police commandos.

PHOTOS:Workers Face Grim Clean Up at Flooded Zoo

Mindia Janelidze, the head of the Georgian Crisis Control Center, told NBC News on Wednesday that they had reassured the public after zoo officials insisted no animals remained at large.

However, the Tbilisi Zoo issued a statement on Facebook Tuesday which said the zoo was missing a tiger, striped hyena and bear.

Fewer than half of the zoo's 600 inhabitants survived the flooding. A hippopotamus was among the escapees to be tranquilized and returned to the zoo.

The flooding also killed at least 19 people, destroyed houses and tore up roads. Six people remain missing.

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