Las Vegas showman 'critical' after tiger attack

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The Independent US

Roy Horn, half of the celebrated Siegfried and Roy circus revue, was fighting for his life in a Las Vegas hospital yesterday after he was mauled and dragged off stage by a seven-year-old white tiger in the middle of a show at the MGM Mirage casino resort.

A spokesman at the resort described the 59-year-old entertainer's condition as "stable but critical" following three hours of surgery at University Medical Centre on Friday night. However, hospital sources told the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper that Mr Horn subsequently suffered a stroke and had to be rushed back into surgery on Saturday to relieve pressure on his brain.

The mood in the Siegfried and Roy entourage was described as grim. "His injuries are certainly life-threatening. He is fighting. We are all fighting," the resort spokesman Alan Feldman told reporters.

The attack on Mr Horn took place in front of 1,500 people, who initially thought the mauling might have been an illusion and part of the act but quickly realised something had gone badly wrong. They gasped in horror as the 600lb animal grabbed the performer by the neck and walked off with him clenched between his teeth. Mr Horn initially attempted to ward off the tiger with a microphone stand, but to no avail.

It was the first time an animal had turned on either Siegfried or Roy in more than 35 years of performing together. Their popular show at the MGM Mirage, which had been playing six nights a week, has now been cancelled indefinitely. The tiger, called Montecore, is being held in quarantine pending a decision on his fate.

More bizarre tiger news from New York, where police were called to remove a tiger and an alligator being kept in an apartment in Harlem. They subdued the animals with tranquiliser darts fired through the window, and nobody was hurt.

The apartment's occupant, Antoine Yates, was later found in a Philadelphia hospital receiving treatment for animal bites. He faces charges of reckless endangerment.