A Vietnam vet was attacked by a bear in California on Thursday. The veteran was able to fight off the bear with his bare hands. Larry Yepez was at his home in Mariposa County when a 250-pound bear attacked him. The Vietnam vet talks about the near fatal bear attack.
“I could feel his strength. I felt like a little rag doll underneath him. I could hear the crunching… when he bit down (on my wrist). He ripped towards my neck and then again the belly.”
Yepez was fighting for his life against the bear. The 66-year-old vet said that he was punching the bear, but it was not until his dog began barking that he was able to get the bear off of him. The barking of the Yepez’s dog distracted the bear enough so that he was able to use his legs to push against the bear and get out from under it.
The Vietnam vet suffered injuries to his wrist, face, stomach, and neck. The injuries did not deter the bloody veteran from driving himself to the hospital.
“When I walked in, I was just covered in blood. And they go, ‘Oh my God. What happened to you?’ And I said, ‘I just got attacked by a bear.'”
Yepez credits his military training as the reason he was able to survive the bear attack.
“They tell you to remove the word ‘can’t’ from your vocabulary. Don’t you ever say that word again — can’t. And then they say — take the pain.”
Yepez served in the United States Marine Corps and saw combat in Vietnam. During his military service, Yepez received injuries to his foot, back, and wrist. Yepez received the Purple Heart due to his injuries while in Vietnam.
Last week, a bear attack at Yellowstone National Park made headlines. The grizzly bear attacked and killed a hiker. Luckily, Yepez did not suffer the same fate. The bear that attacked the Vietnam vet is still on the loose. The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warning to residents to be vigilant and on alert for the bear. The Sheriff’s department wants to make sure that the public also keeps an eye on pets and children. Just like the bear at Yellowstone, county officials are planning to kill the bear once it has been located.
This Vietnam vet is very lucky to have survived being attacked by a bear.
Do you think you would be able to fight off a bear?
[Image via WQAD]