Who Was Katherine Chappell, The American Tourist Killed By A Lioness In South Africa?
The U.S. tourist killed by a lioness at South Africa's Lion Park in Johannesburg was identified Wednesday as 29-year-old Katherine Chappell. Prior to visiting South Africa, Chappell was living in Vancouver and working as a visual effects editor. Though young, her work was prolific. Chappell was an Emmy-award winning editor, taking home a Primetime Emmy in 2014 along with her coworkers for their work on the Game of Thrones episode "The Children" under the Best Visual Effects category. She'd also worked on the Game of Thrones episode "The Lion and the Rose" with the VFX company Scanline, which she'd been working with in Vancouver for just under two years.
Chappell's work with Scanline included many big budget films, including Divergent, Godzilla, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. She was an I/O coordinator for all three films, which means she helped manage and convert the special effects files and data used for those films. A major portion of Chappell's job was to make the post-produced special effects look as seamless and natural as possible. Chappell entered the professional world of film and television back in 2006, taking a post-production assistant job while enrolled at Long Island's Hofstra University, just 40 miles from her hometown of Rye, New York. In her short time in the industry she interned at NBC Universal and took jobs that had her working with CBS, Nickelodeon, and USA Network.
Chappell's family took to Facebook as they continue to mourn her loss and attempt to piece together what happened when she was mauled by a lioness that had approached her vehicle in Lion Park while her window was rolled down. According to the Daily Mail, Chappell's sister Jennifer released a statement on her Facebook expressing shock at the news of Katherine's death and thanking friends and family for their support. Jennifer continues:
Katie was a brilliant, kind, adventurous and high-spirited woman. Her energy and passion could not be contained by mere continents or oceans. She was very much loved and shared her love for life with those she met.
The purpose of Chappell's trip to Africa was a mixture of vacation and volunteer excursion. According to a Legacy.com obituary for Chappell, she "was visiting South Africa as part of a volunteer mission to protect wildlife." She'd even set up a GoFundMe for her trip, the amount of which she planned to donate to African-focused nonprofit the Wildlife ACT. Chappell was scheduled to volunteer with Wildlife ACT for almost the entire month of June, from the 8th to the 22nd. Two months before leaving, she'd raised $1,115 towards her goal amount of $1,300.