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A zoo shot and killed a 17-year-old gorilla that grabbed and dragged a four-year-old boy who fell into the gorilla exhibit moat on Saturday afternoon, the Cincinnati Zoo's director said.
Authorities said the boy, who fell 10 to 12 feet, is expected to recover after being picked up out of the moat and dragged by the 400-pound male, lowland gorilla named Harambe.
The boy was in the moat for about 10 minutes and was in between the gorilla's legs when the gorilla was shot, according to WLWT.
While zoo officials are still investigating, they believe the boy crawled through a railing barrier, and then fell into the moat.
Zoo officials said at the time boy fell in the moat, three gorillas were in the enclosure but the two female gorillas were called out immediately.
However, a third gorilla, Harambe, remained in the yard with the child.
Video footage emerged on Saturday revealing some of the chilling moments of the time the boy was inside the moat, as a panicked crowd looking on can be heard screaming as the ordeal unfolded.
During the chaotic scenes, people can be heard shouting 'No, no!' and for someone to call 911.
At one point a woman appearing to be the child's mother yells down, 'mommy's right here,' 'mommy loves you,' and then says 'Isaiah be calm,' as the boy can be heard crying.
The graphic portions of the ordeal which apparently showed the gorilla dragging the boy through the water, were removed from the footage, according to by WLWT.
The child was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center with serious injuries following the incident, which was reported around 4pm.
The boy was alert when he was taken to hospital, according to officials.
Hospital officials said they could not release any information on the child, whose name has not been released.
Director Thane Maynard said the zoo's dangerous animal response team, which practices for such incidents, decided the boy was in 'a life-threatening situation' and that they needed to put down the gorilla.
'They made a tough choice and they made the right choice because they saved that little boy's life,' Maynard said.
'It could have been very bad.'
Maynard said the gorilla did not appear to be attacking the child, but he said it was 'an extremely strong' animal in an agitated situation.
A Cincinnati fire department incident report stated that the gorilla was 'violently dragging and throwing the child,' according to WLWT.
Maynard explained that tranquilizing the gorilla would not have knocked it out immediately, leaving the boy in danger.