Abby Wetherell thought she was going to die. The 12-year-old was attacked by a black bear in Cadillac, Michigan. Thanks to quick thinking, Abby survived the brutal attack.
Abby was jogging on her grandparent’s property in Northern Michigan. When she saw a black bear she decided to run toward her grandparents’ home. Unfortunately, the bear caught her and knocked her to the ground.
As reported by ABC News, Abby says that the bear proceeded to scratch and claw her. However, it eventually walked away.
When she stood up and tried to run away, the bear returned. Abby explains that she first tried petting the bear:
“So I was, like, petting it. I don’t know where that came from. But, I just thought maybe if I petted it, it would like me… Well, that did notwork.”
Abby Wetherall suddenly remembered the advice that saved her life. She heard that playing dead might deter an attacking bear.
Abby played dead. As she lay silent and unmoving, the bear lost interest and walked away. When she was sure the bear was gone, Abby ran screaming to her grandparents’ home.
Chris Wetherell, Abby’s father, explains that he was in “shock”:
“I didn’t believe it was a bear attack until I saw the claw marks and the bruises, and it was horrible.”
Abby suffered puncture wounds and scratches to her thighs, back, and face. She explains that she “was just numb” during the attack. She did not realize how badly she was hurt until she tried to get off the ground.
The seventh-grader was taken by helicopter to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Michigan. She was in surgery for several hours, receiving over 100 stitches.
Abby is now recovering at home.
Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources estimates that up to 9,000 bears live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. As reported by Huffington Post, people traveling in the area should take precautions to prevent attacks.
While an attack is rare, DNR experts suggest traveling in groups and carrying pepper spray. Bears can become aggressive when startled. If they hear someone coming, they are likely to run away.
When encountering a black bear, experts suggest facing the bear and slowly backing away. Turning away from a bear and running may invite a chase.
Playing dead worked for Abby Wetherell. However, experts suggest using a stern voice and fighting back.
[Image via Flickr]