Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Bear attack survivor 'played dead'

A marksman patrols the area where a man was killed by a bear at the Soda Butte camp site in Wyoming
A marksman patrols the area where a man was killed by a bear at the Soda Butte camp site in Wyoming
A Canadian woman survived a bear attack on a camp site by playing dead

A Canadian woman survived a bear attack on a camp site in the middle of the night by playing dead, she has revealed.

Deb Freele, of London, Ontario, was bitten on her arm and leg before she instinctively stopped struggling so the animal would leave her alone.

At least one bear rampaged through the camp site near Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, US, on Wednesday, killing one man and injuring two other people.

Speaking from hospital, Freele said she woke up just before the bear bit her arm.

"I screamed, he bit harder, I screamed harder, he continued to bite," she said.

Her survival instinct kicked in, and she realised that the screaming wasn't working.

"I told myself, play dead," she explained. "I went totally limp. As soon as I went limp, I could feel his jaws get loose and then he let me go."

She said the bear was silent, adding: "I felt like he was hunting me."

A frequent camper, Freele said that she was already prepared hours after the attack to go camping again, though she admitted that it will take time to recover both physically and emotionally.

She suffered severe lacerations and crushed bones from bites on her arms. The male survivor, thought to be a teenager, suffered wounds to his calf.

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