-Women ran screaming_ from a Durban circus last night as six lions fatally mauled their tamer. The lions injured two men who went to the tamer's aid. The tamer, William Coetzee, died in hospital three hours after the attack. The six lions mauled him after one had bitten him behind the ear. :As he lay helpless his best friend, a juggler named Drodsky, who is frightened of animals, leapt into the cage armed only with a chair and tried to fight off l he lions.
The lions began to chase Drod-sky around the cage and he was joined by ringmaster Denis Wood. Wood grabbed a knobkerrie (club) and helped drive back the snarling beasts. Then Wood seized a chair and held the lions at bay while Drodsky dragged Coetzee out of the cage. Both Drodsky and Wood were wounded.
As Coetzee was being rushed to hospital, Drodsky, his wounds unbandaged, went on with his juggling act.
In the horror-stricken audience was Drodsky's wife.
"The Tamest" Coetzee is believed to have been apprehensive about only one lion, Caesar, which had once clawed him.
The lion that started the attack was Kleintjie (Small One), which was looked on as the tamest beast in the act.
Circus men said Coetzee earlier had trained lionesses. They believed that when the lions smelt the scent of lionesses on the trainer they went mad.
No citation is available. Information of Death. Found death notice on family search, I am guessing whomever filled out the information didn't know my grandfather well enough, no birth date but comment is age 43 years old at time of death, no place of birth mentioned was married at the time but no mention as to what his wife's name was, Occupation listed as Lion Tammer, place of death St. Aidan's Mission Hospital in Grayville Durban, he apparently died 3 1/2 hours after been mauled by the lions during a live performance with Pagel's Circus (owned or been run by Koos Turnbull at the time) intended place of burial is listed as Benoni. Usual place of residence listed as Pagel's Circus Traveling.
I found another mentioning Willie Coetzee but as a ring master article The Billboard Amusement Industry's Leading NewsWeekly Published in 1954 Circuses pg52 (Intresting to read the addverts) Ringmaster Denis Wood Pagle Circus
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