Watch: 660-pound brown bear attacks trainer in front of unprotected crowd at Russian circus

A crowd attending a circus in northern Russia was horrified after a bear attacked and injured its trainer during a performance Wednesday.

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According to CBS News, officials opened an investigation after the attack, which occurred in the town of Olonets. Cellphone video showed the bear pushing a wheelbarrow while walking on its hind legs.

The bear then attacked the trainer and bit him, forcing the trainer to the floor, CBS News reported.

Caution: This video contains graphic images:

There was no barrier separating the bear and its trainer from the audience, which contained small children, The Washington Post reported.

As the horrified audience watched, the 16-year-old 660-pound brown bear, named Yashka, climbed on top of the trainer before another trainer bolted into the ring and began kicking the animal, the Post reported.

“People started to jump up. A panic started. Everyone grabbed their kids and started running,” eyewitness Galina Guryeva said, according to the newspaper.

Lyudmila Misnik, the circus manager, told Russian media that the bear had been startled by the flash from cellphone cameras, the New York Times reported.

The bear was the star of the Anshlag traveling circus from the city of Voronezh, attacked the trainer during the act dubbed "Clubfoot and the Garden Wheelbarrow," the newspaper reported.

Mislik said neither the trainer nor the bear was seriously injured, adding "the rest of our program does not pose any danger to spectators.”

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