Heart-stopping footage of a little girl being dragged into the water by a sea lion has been going viral since it was uploaded last Saturday (May 20).
This incident happens less than a year after Cincinnati Zoo was forced to kill a gorilla when a boy tumbled into the enclosure.
This time, both animal and child were fortunately unscathed.
The video was shot by onlooker Michael Fujiwara, a university student who was on the dock at the Stevenston Fisherman's Wharf in British Columbia, Canada when the incident happened.
As the animal started attracting more attention from tourists, a little girl and her family went closer to the water to get a clearer view of the wild animal bobbing up and down in the water.
According to Fujiwara, the girl's family started feeding the animal and in the video, people can be heard laughing, whistling and holding their hand over the water, as if to hand out a treat to the animal.
At one point in the video, the sea lion lunges forward at the little girl's face as if it wanted to play.
Fascinated, she moves closer and takes a seat at the edge of the wharf and that was when the large mammal leapt up, bit the girl's dress and yanked her into the murky water.
It's not Sea World, it's a place where you buy fish... if you feed the animals like this you're asking for trouble.Bob Baziuk
Amid terrified screams, a man who is supposedly her grandfather, dives into the water and pulls the girl to safety. They then walk away, shaken but unhurt.
According to a report by National Geographic, the sea lion did not lunge forward with the intention of eating the child, but was in search of more food that the tourists were throwing. The animal probably mistook the girl's dress for food.
Bob Baziuk, the general manager of the Steveston Harbour Authority, told CNN that they've been warning visitors not to feed the animals for years.
"It's not Sea World, it's a place where you buy fish," said Bazuik. "If you feed the animals like this you're asking for trouble."
Since the two-minute video was uploaded, it has been watched more than 6.7 million times on YouTube and has garnered more than 5,000 comments.
Most of the commentators praised the quick response of the young girl's grandfather, whose selfless heroism prevented a tragedy.
Others chided the girl's parents for letting her get in dangerous proximity of the wild animal.
By Sunday (May 21), the Steveston Harbour Authority had put up signs telling people not to feed the sea lions.