It was as close to a worst-case scenario as you can get. A grizzly bear sprinted through the trees and attacked two of four college wrestling teammates searching for shed antlers on the Shoshone National Forest near Cody, Wyoming.
“When I was under that bear, I covered my head and curled up in a ball,” Brad Lowry, told KSL-TV. “If it wanted to kill me, it could’ve killed me.”
Hearing his friend’s screams and seeing the helter-skelter situation, Kendell Cummings acted. He dove on the bear, yanked at its fur and tried to pull it off Lowry. Then the grizzly turned its attention on Cummings, biting his head and arms and raking him with its claws. The bear then walked away before returning to maul Cummings a second time before wandering off for good.
Lowry managed to scramble to a higher elevation to find cell service and call 911 for help.
“He definitely saved my life. If it wasn’t for him, if I was by myself, I would not have made it off that mountain,” said Lowry.
The other two teammates yelled out for and found their injured teammates. And then helped them six miles down the trailhead, carrying them at times, until they reached the parking area.
Medical crews flew Cummings and Lowry to a hospital in Billings, Montana.
The entire wrestling team kept a vigil with their fallen teammates in the hospital as family members arrived to join them.
“That young man over there, Kendell, is the hero,” Dallas Lowry, Brad’s father, told KSL-TV. “Saved my son’s life.”
“In the vicinity where the attack occurred, reports from landowners and hunters indicate there may be six to 10 different bears moving between agricultural fields and low elevation slopes,” said Dan Smith, Wyoming Game and Fish Department wildlife supervisor. “Game and Fish will continue to monitor bear activity in the area and work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make management decisions in the best interest of public safety.”
Northwest College is accepting donations to help the young men pay for their hospital bills.
Go here to watch a TV report featuring the young men talking about the incident.
(Photo credit: KSL-TV/Dallas Lowry)