© Photo: Beeld/Media 24
Chantal Beyer and her husband Sven Fouche moments before the attack
A photograph shows Chantal Beyer, 24, and her husband just a few feet away from two white rhinos, which on average weigh 4,000-5,000 pounds.

A few seconds later, one of the rhinos attacked, the Afrikaans-language Beeld newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The rhino's horn penetrated her chest from behind, causing a collapsed lung and broken ribs, the Beeld said. Mrs Beyer, a bachelor of commerce student from Johannesburg, is in an intensive care unit at a Krugersdorp hospital where she is said to be in stable condition.

Game park owner Alex Richter had reportedly told a group of visitors it was safe to get out of the safari vehicle to take photos, and he even used food to coax the rhinos closer.

Mrs Beyer's uncle and family spokesman Thom Peeters told the Beeld: "There were quite a few young people on the vehicle and they probably felt they could trust Richter, who was an adult."

The game park owner reportedly suggested Mrs Beyer "stand just a little bit closer" to the massive bull rhino, moments before it attacked.

The Aloe Ridge Hotel and Nature Reserve, where the incident took place at the weekend, has declined to comment.

The game reserve, about 25 miles from Johannesburg, describes itself as giving guests "the ideal opportunity to game view", with rhinos listed among the animals "sighted at close range", along with hippos, Cape buffaloes and giraffes.

South Africa's endangered rhinos are under enormous threat by poachers, fuelled primarily by demand for rhino horn in Vietnam. Last year a record 668 rhinos were killed for their horns, a nearly 50 per cent increase from 2011.