iStock/MrRuj(CHARLOTTE) — One person was killed by a lion that escaped a locked space at a North Carolina animal center, officials said Sunday.

"While a husbandry team led by a professionally trained animal keeper was carrying out a routine enclosure cleaning, one of the lions somehow left a locked space and entered the space the humans were in and quickly killed one person," the Conservators Center in Caswell County, North Carolina, said in a statement.

The lion was shot dead so personnel could retrieve the worker, the center said.

The center said in the statement it was "devastated by the loss of a human life."

It was not immediately clear how the lion escaped the enclosure.

The center is home to more than 80 animals and more than 21 species, according to its website.

The center said it will be closed until further notice.

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