Boy Scout leader was attacked by brown bear after he entered a cave at Split Rock Reservoir in Rockaway, New Jersey. After being bitten several times he was unable to leave the cave for almost an hour and a half.
The 50-year old man, Cristopher Petronino was hiking through the woods with a group of three boy scouts. On Sunday the man wanted to show the boys a small cave which he used to visit regularly for more than 30 years, since the 1980s.
According to Petronino he has never seen a bear in that location so he thought it was safe. The group entered the cave through a crevasse, with the Scout leader entering first. That is when the bear grabbed him by his foot and dragged him deeper inside the cave.
The bear bit the man on both his shoulders, besides his leg. Petronino tried to fight the animal, hitting it in its head with a rock. After that he managed to curl into fetal position and pull his shirt over his head.
The Scout leader told the scouts to run and get help. The boys called 9-1-1 from their leader’s cellphone. Unfortunately they couldn’t answer some questions about their location that would have helped rescuers identify the place of the cave. The rescuers tried to track the coordinates on the cell phone and sent a helicopter with the hope they will find them.
Petronino yelled to the boys to throw all of their food in front of the cave to attract the bear out. Eventually the black bear came out of the cave and the group’s dog started barking at him. That is the moment when the bear run up the hill, giving Petronino the chance to exit the cave where he was being held hostage.
The man called the emergency services which have finally been able to rescue him from the scene. The dial log showed that Petronino’s call came one hour and 20 minutes after the scouts’ call.
Petronino was taken to the hospital by a helicopter and his injuries were characterized as non-life threatening. All of the boys have been rescued unharmed.
The Scout leader was unable to identify the bear, on which he didn’t observe any tags and he was also unable to estimate its size, according to Bob Considine, the spokesman of NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife.
The Department of Environmental Protection of New Jersey is investigating the incident at the scene.
Image source: freeimages