Visitors at the Belfast Zoo on Saturday witnessed a daring bid for freedom when a group of chimpanzees made a ladder to escape their enclosure.

The primates in the Northern Ireland zoo took advantage of tree branches weakened by a recent storm, breaking them off to make a ladder and using it to scale the wall surrounding their pen.

Visitors said one of them emerged from the bushes and on to a road, while the others sat on the wall of the enclosure. They shot videos of the incident and posted them on social media.

One of them told the BBC that she was “petrified” that it would attack her children.“It may have been a different story if it had been aggressive but it absolutely wasn’t,” said Danielle Monaghan. “It made us feel at ease. We just walked past it and it was absolutely grand.”

Meanwhile, zookeeper Alyn Cairns said the animals were “quite cowardly” and went back into the enclosure by themselves. Interestingly, this is the second time in two months that an animal has escaped from its enclosure in the zoo. In January, a red panda cub named Amber was found in a garden less than a mile from the zoo.