Man survives close encounter after cheetah jumps into vehicle during African safari

GOL KOPJES OF THE SERENGETI, Tanzania — A Seattle man survived a close encounter after a cheetah jumped inside his vehicle during an African safari — and it was caught ono tape.

KOMO reports that Britton Hayes was with a group in the Gol Kopjes of the Serengeti watching three cheetahs on the hunt when one of them approached.

The cheetah got into the Land Cruiser because there weren’t any doors on it.

“We started to notice the cheetahs became curious of the vehicle,” Hayes told the station. “But it was too late to drive quickly away, or anything like that, because you don’t want to startle the animals, because that’s when things usually go wrong.”

One of the cheetahs got in the back seat as the group was watching another cheetah that got on the hood of the vehicle.

Other than a few bite and claw marks on the seat, the men escaped unharmed.

Hayes said this is not common, but that guides were prepared for it to happen.

“Alex (the guide) kept me calm and made sure I never made eye contact nor startled the cheetah,” Hayes said. “Allowing the animal to see that it could trust us.”

The guide had Hayes slow his breathing in an effort to keep the cheetah at ease.

“Honestly, it was probably one of the scariest moments of my life while it was happening,” Hayes said.

“I felt like I had to clear my mind of any thoughts because from everything you’re told about predators like that, they can sense fear and any sort of discomfort you’re feeling and they’ll react accordingly.

“I wanted to be as calm and as still as possible to avoid a bad outcome.”

Hayes added now he feels like he can tackle anything and that the experience made him feel “alive.”