Desperate times require desperate measures – and when an impala was targeted by two vicious cheetahs, it made a jump for it that will not soon be forgotten.
The distressed animal was captured on camera leaping into a car full of tourists in order to escape the predators.
The terrified animal appeared to be seconds away from death when an unexpected window of opportunity appeared – quite literally.
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Close call: The impala jumps into a car to escape two cheetahs in Kruger National Park in South Africa
The animal had been chased by the cheetah along with its herd when it realised it was the only one left behind.
As the two ferocious animals appeared to have cornered the impala – it leaped into a nearby car which happened to have its windows rolled down.
Samantha Pittendrigh, 20, happened to be filming the chase when the impala jumped through the passenger-side window of a Toyota in front of her.
She said: ‘We started freaking out going crazy. We couldn’t believe it – we were absolutely dumbstruck.
‘We had absolutely no idea what was going on.
‘We watched the cheetah chasing the impala. We saw a few of them turn around in the bushes towards the road they were running from.’
Sweet escape: A group of impala flee across a road in Kruger National Park, South Africa when one of them take an unexpected turn
Swift exit: As the last impala cross the road, the cheetahs’ intended meal finds a novel way to escape
‘All of a sudden we saw the impala jump out of the bushes and then someone started screaming ‘it is in the car, it is in the car’.
‘We heard a little girl screaming in the car. The boy sitting outside the car filming looked a lot younger, so it must have been a family.
‘People in other cars screamed ‘open the door, open the door’.’
In the confusion, one of the passengers managed to open a door and the impala is seen just seconds later trotting across the road to freedom.
The cheetahs are just yards away but do not give chase.
The footage was captured in Kruger National Park, South Africa, where according to park rules you must stay inside your vehicle at all times.
As the terrified impala realises it is the cheetahs’ chosen meal, it looks for a way out, and spots the car
Unexpected visit: One person inside the car appears oblivious to the fact that an impala is on its way inside the vehicle and continues to film the cheetah chase
Just dropping by: This is the moment when the impala jumps into the tourists’ car in front of the chocked cheetahs
The bewildered cheetahs are left with long noses and empty stomachs as the impala disappears into the car
Miss Pittendrigh, who is studying supply chain management at the University of Pretoria, was with her friends Tanith Human, 20, Carmen Thvle, 21, and Michelle De Jager, 21.
Unlike some of her friends, she has made several trips to Kruger National Park but was left stunned by the trip.
She added: ‘My family are so jealous. In all the years my parents have been going to Kruger Park they have never seen anything like it and we do go regularly.
‘It really is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and we managed to be in the right place at the right time.
‘I was very happy to witness something like that but I felt a sorry for the cheetah.
‘There are so many impala, it is not like they will miss one of them.’
However, the world’s fastest land-animal was not completely ‘cheetah-ed’, as one of them managed to make a kill a mere dozen feet along the road, according to Miss Pittendrigh.