'A panic started' after bear at Russian circus attacks trainer

"Everyone grabbed their kids and started running," eyewitness Galina Guryeva said.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Phil Helsel and Associated Press

Russian officials have reportedly opened a criminal investigation after a bear in a circus attacked and injured its trainers during a performance this week.

The incident happened Wednesday in Olonets, which is in the northwest of the country and about 120 miles northeast of St. Petersburg.

Video of the attack shows the bear pushing a wheelbarrow while standing on its hind legs before it attacks the trainer and pulls him to the ground, where it continues the attack. Screams from the crowd are heard, and another performer kicks the bear as it attacks the man.

"People started to jump up. A panic started. Everyone grabbed their kids and started running," eyewitness Galina Guryeva said, according to video.

The online news site gazeta.ru cited a witness as saying the bear then ventured into the audience before being subdued with an electric-shock device.

The video showed patrons watching the animal show from chairs with no barriers that would have prevented the bear from getting to the crowd.

The Interfax news agency said the Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation on a charge of providing unsafe services, the AP reported.