'I was perfectly still. It was the only chance that I had': Hiker, 54, describes how he survived bear clamping its jaw on his NECK in Angeles National Forest
- Dan Richmond encountered two bears in the Angeles National Forest
- He first screamed as loud as he could in a bid to scare the creatures away
- One bear stopped in its tracks, but the other attacked him on Monday
- But eventually, it stopped and he was able to get up and walk away
- He suffered multiple lacerations, with injuries in the back of his head, neck, legs and upper torso
A 54-year-old hiker survived an encounter with two bears in the San Gabriel Mountains east of Los Angeles on Monday, authorities said.
Dan Richmond said he was ‘pretty freaked out’ when he saw the first bear – but then ended up trapped when another hurtled towards him on Mount Wilson trail in the Angeles National Forest.
He described how he first screamed as loud as he could in a bid to scare the creatures away – which stopped one in its tracks but then the other attacked.
Richmond said he then stayed as still as he could while his neck was in the bear’s grip – and escaped the encounter with injuries that aren’t life-threatening.
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Dan Richmond (above) described how he survived an encounter with two bears from his hospital bed on Monday
He said that in the initial encounter, at around 10.45am, the first bear stood up and was taller than him. He is 5ft 11.
As they eyed each other, the second bear came out of nowhere and attacked, knocking him down.
‘I saw this bear standing on its hind legs and I’d never seen a bear in person before, so I was pretty freaked out,’ Richmond told KTLA.
‘I turn around and there’s another bear coming out towards me. At that point, I was trapped.’
Richmond said yelling made one of the bears move back around five or six feet, and he considered running – but then the other bear attacked.
‘It's hard to imagine until one attacks you and you just feel the strength of its jaws and its body,’ he said.
Richmond said he was ‘pretty freaked out’ when he saw the first bear – but then ended up trapped when another hurtled towards him on Mount Wilson trail
The hiker had been on the Mount Wilson trail in the Angeles National Forest when the bears approached him. Above, the scene after the attack
The bear grabbed his wrist, but then clamped its jaw around his neck – and he responded by remaining as still as he possibly could.
'He grabbed my wrist. Grabbed my upper leg. He actually put his mouth around my neck. And I just stayed really, really still,' Richman said.
'I just didn't move. I just stayed silent. I was down on my hands and knees, and I was perfectly still because it was the only chance that I had.'
Eventually, the bear relaxed its grip on Richmond and he said he was able to get up and walk away.
When the creatures were out of sight, he ran as fast as he could down the mountain.
Richmond suffered multiple lacerations, with injuries in the back of his head, neck, legs and upper torso, said Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone in a news conference.
He also suffered a partial head injury after falling backwards when the bear attacked him.
‘He sustained what we'd know as a pretty good bear attack,’ Giannone said.
He noted that bear attacks in the area were very rare.
Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will try to locate the bear, and if it's captured it will be destroyed for public safety under department policy
The pair appeared to be a mother and cub, the police chief said.
Bears in the area usually run away when they see people, he said, CBS LA reported.
Richmond was taken to Methodist Hospital in Arcadia for treatment for non-life-threatening cuts, scratches and possible puncture wounds, Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
He was in satisfactory condition on Monday night and was to be kept at the hospital overnight for observation, officials said.
The attack occurred in the Angeles National Forest, two miles north of the city of Sierra Madre's Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park.
Fish and Wildlife will try to locate the bear, and if it's captured it will be destroyed for public safety under department policy.
‘We can't have animals attacking people,’ Hughan said.
The attack occurred in the Angeles National Forest (above, file photo), two miles north of the city of Sierra Madre's Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park
There was no immediate threat to the community of Sierra Madre because the attack occurred so far outside town, but the wilderness park and a popular trail to landmark Mount Wilson were closed.
There are usually three or four minor bear attacks around California each year, but this was the second such attack in the same general vicinity of the Angeles National Forest in recent months, officials said.
"They typically are non-aggressive," said Chief Larry Giannone, director of public safety for the Sierra Madre police and fire departments.
"We've had officers that have walked right by them."
The forest sprawls over more than 1,000 square miles of the mountain range sprawling north and east of Los Angeles.
It's not uncommon for bears to make their way down into foothill suburbs along the interface between the wildland and urban areas.
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