Erin Greene of Montreal says she’s lucky to be alive after a 400-pound polar bear attacked her last month, pouncing on her and swinging her around like a rag doll.
A Montreal woman says she’s lucky to be alive after a 400-pound polar bear picked her out of a group last month, pounced on her head and swung her around like a rag doll.
Erin Greene described the harrowing attack for a Canadian radio show Thursday ahead of a fundraiser organized to help cover her hefty air ambulance bill.
“We were just crossing the street, from like one side to the other, just talking, and one of my friends looked over her shoulder and said, ‘Oh my God guys, there’s a bear!'” Greene recalled for the CBC Winnipeg show.
“We looked over and this bear was charging towards us. So you know, (your) first instinct is to run, which you know you’re not really supposed to do. But if a bear’s running at you, that’s your first instinct,” the 30-year-old said.
Greene says she and her friends were crossing the street when a polar bear, such as the one seen here, started charging toward them.
“My friends started running, but the bear was so quick, and it was so close to us. I knew that it was gonna get us,” she said. “And it was very focused on me. Its eyes were locked on mine, so I was his target.”
She said one of her friends even tripped, but it didn’t matter — the bear was laser-focused on Greene that Nov. 1 morning in Churchill, Manitoba.
“He just jumped on the back of my head and started, like, yanking on my head,” she said. “I could tell what the bear was doing. I could feel him ripping — he was ripping my scalp back — but there wasn’t necessarily pain. It was just like, ‘Oh, this is happening.'”
She said her “adrenaline and terror” crowded out any other physical sensations.
Greene says she knew she was the bear’s target, as it kept its eyes locked on her even when her friend tripped.
“Your body is an incredible machine, and it just like kicks in and protects you,” she said.
Greene said she remembers the bear letting her go at one point, and that’s when she finally lost her footing and fell to the ground.
“I remember seeing him standing there, and he came right back on me,” she said.
Her recollection of events starts to turn “fuzzy” at that point, she said.
Green says her ‘adrenaline and terror’ crowded out any other physical sensations during the attack. Here, she shows some of her injuries.
She said the Good Samaritan who eventually saved her recalled Greene being “two feet off the ground and in the bear’s mouth” when he rushed outside to check on her screams.
The bear lacerated three arteries in her head, she told CBC.
“Luckily this man heard me screaming, because I was screaming at the top of my lungs,” she said. “That was the only thing I could do facing a 400-pound bear. Obviously I’m not going to win that fight. So I thought, I just need to scream. I need to scream as loud as I can. I need to wake people up.”
She said her unidentified hero happened to be up watching TV at the time of the 5 a.m. attack.
A 69-year-old man who heard Greene’s screams came outside and whacked the polar bear with a shovel.
The 69-year-old man grabbed a shovel and whacked the bear in the head, giving Greene a chance to escape, according to the CBC report.
“He just stepped right up and saved my life,” Greene said, thanking him over and over on the air.
The man also was injured by the same bear and taken to a hospital, but like Greene, he is now recovering, CBC said.
Greene said she got plastic surgery on her ear and head and was released from the hospital within 24 hours.
Greene says all of her in-hospital care was covered by Medicare, but she still has hefty bills in the ‘tens of thousands’ for her transportation. Here, more of Greene’s injuries.
Because she’s a Quebec resident, Greene said all of her in-hospital care was covered by Medicare.
But she now has to cover hefty bills in the “tens of thousands” for her transportation, including her airlift to Winnipeg, she said.
To help her out, Greene’s friends organized a fundraiser for Thursday night at the Pyramid Cabaret in Winnipeg.
“It’s really great, really special that my friends are doing this for me,” Greene said. “It’s nice not to worry so much about those bills. Right now I just want to focus on being safe and feeling calm.”
One expert told CBC that polar bears can get “agitated” and show aggression toward people as they wait for the Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can go out and hunt.
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