Several people were injured by hail at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Monday afternoon, according to the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
First responders said as of 3:30 p.m., eight people have been taken to the hospital due to trauma from the hail. More people were injured, including zoo employees, but they did not need to be taken to the hospital.
According to Jenny Koch with the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, animals have been injured and killed by the storm. As of 4:10 p.m., the zoo had identified that one vulture and one duck had been killed.
The fire department was asking visitors to stay where they are at the zoo until they can be reunited with friends and family. Reunification will happen near the football stadium at Cheyenne Mountain High School. Three buses are on their way to the zoo to evacuate people.
“Everyone knew exactly what their job was and exactly what to do. We were able to minimize any kind of fear or panic in our guests, and also minimize any further injuries,” said Koch.
The fire department said the children who were attending camp at the zoo are all safe and uninjured. They were taken to Cheyenne Mountain High School to be picked up.
The Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at the high school to support the more than 100 damaged cars that were damaged in the storm as well as the reunification noted above.
In addition, all damaged vehicles that could not be driven out of the park will be taken to the high school where tow trucks can be ordered to pick them up.
Sophia was at the zoo with her newborn. She has lived in Manitou Springs for 5 years said she has never seen hail this big.
“It was his first time at the zoo. its a memorable experience I guess,” said Sophia. “Seeing everyone’s cars, everyone didn’t have a windshield. So it kind of sucked knowing we were going to see that in our car too.”
Koch noted that the zoo facilities were also heavily damaged. The zoo will be closed Tuesday.
Severe thunderstorms dropped large hail and heavy rain across the Pikes Peak region Monday afternoon. FOX21 has received several reports of baseball-sized hail in the area of southwestern Colorado Springs where the zoo is located.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX21 News for the latest.