A crowd was thrown into chaos after a circus tiger climbed out of its cage and escaped.
A group of schoolchildren watched on in terror as the incident unfolded during a show in Yuanyang, China, on September 6.
A video of the evening’s performance shows a handler directing the tiger to the side of the cage.
Suddenly the big cat leaps up onto the metal and begins climbing towards freedom.
Audience members immediately jump from their seats and begin screaming “run” as the cat escapes.
Authorities searched throughout the night for the cat and urged members of the public to remain indoors.
The tiger was found in a cornfield the following day and successfully tranquillised 12 hours after its escape, according to reports.
Footage of the operation shows the seemingly unconscious animal being hauled out of the field behind a tractor.
The authorities said the young cat, a second tiger and a lion, were seized from the circus and transferred to Xinxiang Zoo for safekeeping.
But the zoo has refuted claims the tiger was found alive and says it was dead when they arrived.
A zookeeper told Chinese media: “It wasn’t even breathing, so we didn’t attempt any sort of treatment.
“We’ve kept the carcass in a freezer and are waiting for a vet to perform an examination.”
He said tiger had been hit by a car during its escape and may have suffered internal injuries as a result.
County officials have announced further investigations are now pending following a official autopsy.
Investigators said the travelling circus from East China’s Anhui Province had been granted a licence to perform in the county on September, 1 but that the organisers had not registered their September 6 show with the relevant authorities.
Of the two organisers now detained for questioning, one has been named by Chinese media as 23-year-old Zhang Haitao.
Zhang’s wife, Wu Xiangyan, revealed that her husband loaned the two Siberian tigers, one lion, one monkey and one goat from another circus.
Zhang’s contract states that any accidental death to a tiger would incur a 100,000-RMB (£11,450) penalty, Wu said.