A 16-year-old girl who survived a bear attack and two years of living in a bear camp has been honored for her bravery in a ceremony in northern Washington state.
The ceremony Monday, sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, honored Lauren C. Leach, a junior at Washington State University.
The girl said in a video posted on the agency’s website that the bear attacks began when she was in her third grade and she was alone.
She said her parents were in the cabin.
“I was walking down the road with my friends and I was in the middle of nowhere,” she said in the video.
“I was in a very isolated place, and the bear was just chasing us.”
Her mother, who was sleeping at the time, heard her screams and raced to the scene.
She told the boy to run for help.
“She said, ‘The bear’s trying to get at you,'” Lauren said in her video.
She ran back to the cabin and called her mother.
“Mom, I’m getting a bear hug, and I’m not going to hurt it,” Lauren said.
She said the bear tried to bite her but was unable to.
“He just wanted to get away from me and my friends,” she recounted in the footage.
She told her parents that she ran back into the cabin, but the bear grabbed her again.
“Then he just grabbed me again, and this time he took my hands and tried to pull me out of the cabin,” she recalled.
“That’s when my mom called 911 and said, “Get the kids out of there!””
And that’s when I realized that I was the one in danger, because the bear had already taken my hand and my mom had already grabbed me,” Lauren added.
She managed to get herself into the back of the house with her mother and father, but said that they were too scared to leave.”
My dad is terrified because I don’t want to be seen,” she explained.”
There’s a big bear in the front yard,” she added.”
And I’m just terrified that he’s going to take my life,” she told The Associated Press.”
Because the bear has no fear.
He just wants to go in and grab my hand, and he wants to kill me.
“The girl survived a previous attack by a bear at her home in the northern city of Yarmouth and was in hiding the rest of her life.
Her father and mother were injured in that attack.