Lion attack caught on tape

A circus performance in Ukraine went horribly wrong at the weekend as a lion attacked a trainer in front of horrified children.

The footage shows trainers prodding at several lions with long sticks, before one rears back onto its hind legs and swipes at the trainer.

Another lion quickly joins the fray as circus trainers frantically try to separate the lions from the trainer with a high pressure hose.

Amateur footage of the incident was captured by American tourist Doug Sheperd, who was watching the show with his family.

"Kids are screaming, and kids are only 10 feet away and (my family was) probably 35 feet away", Mr Sheperd told CBS news.

Mr Sheperd's wife Masha says she was concerned the lions would turn on the audience, "I was just grabbing my daughter and trying to run because I thought that they were going to come out."

The circus performer was taken to hospital where he is reportedly in a stable condition.

Watch the shocking video below.