A father finally speaks — 10-years later — after surviving the attack of a grizzly bear that left him with a broken neck, a gouged right eye, and 80 percent of his scalp ripped off. His unbelievable story was featured in an episode of ABC’s In An Instant on March 14.
In 2005, John Otter and his daughter, Jenna, were visiting Glacier National Park in Montana when they were approached by a mother bear and her cubs.
With a gut feeling that the grizzly bears were going to attack, John jumped in front of his daughter to protect her, but there was no use. The bears came at them with full force and there was nothing they could do.
“She could have touched it — basically that close,” John said about his daughter.
“So she stepped back real fast and just naturally, as a parent, you step in front of your kid. The worst fear of a parent is to hear your child scream.”
Once John stepped forward, the mama bear attacked him first. She ripped off 80 percent of his scalp, broke his neck, and gouged out his right eye.
“All I see is claws and teeth,” he said. “The bear kind of goes like this on it … basically digging for a bone, which is your skull and biting on it like this.”
He continued as follows.
“I was able to stay standing, but I’m like my whole front is exposed and this is not a good scene, so that’s when I decided to jump off the mountain.”
Jenna recalls the attack and stated the following.
“The bear stood over me and it put one paw on either side of my head. The bear took my head in its mouth. Its lower jaw was kind of around my jaw. It’s upper jaw was around the back of my head. When it bit me, I didn’t feel pain, just pressure.”
Just like her father, she had no other choice but to jump off the mountain, which was a 50ft jump. Both father and daughter landed on the same ledge where they waited until they were rescued.
“We are both extremely lucky,” John said to a reporter at 10 News.“There’s no bigger jackpot, basically.”
After being attacked by a grizzly bear and her cubs, John and his daughter feared they wouldn’t survived. Now 10 years later, they are fully healed and doing well. Jenna is in her fourth year of medical school and hopes to become an emergency room physician.
The father and daughter returns to Glacier National Park — where they were attacked — every year to hike.
[Image courtesy of Sharon Mollerus/Flickr]