Example of a Black Bear. Photo by Diginatur (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Example of a Black Bear. Photo by Diginatur (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A 54-year-old man who was attacked by a bear while hiking in the Angeles National Forest above Sierra Madre said Tuesday he thought for a moment he was going to die as the massive animal held him by the neck.

Speaking by phone from his hospital bed to a local TV station, Dan Richman said he experienced “a different type of fright” when he encountered a bear on the hiking path. Authorities said the bear attack occurred around midday Monday near the Georgia’s Cabin area in Angeles National Forest, around two miles north of Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park, which is in the 400 block of West Carter Avenue.

“All of a sudden I come across this bear standing on its hind legs, and it’s probably maybe 60, 70 feet in front of me,” Richman told KCAL Channel 9 from Methodist Hospital in Arcadia. Richman said he yelled as loud as he could in hopes of scaring the bear off, but as he backed away, he encountered a second bear, leaving him trapped. He said he tried to run, but the second bear grabbed him, first by the wrist and then on a leg.

“I pretty much right away felt its strength, and then it got me down on the ground,” he said. “I was on my hands  and knees and it had its mouth around my neck.”

Richman said he decided to remain quiet and perfectly still, and the bear released him.

“There was a few moments there where I thought, you know, I might not get through this,” he told the station.

Richman was able to run back into town, where a neighbor spotted him and called 911.

The wilderness park and the Mount Wilson trail remained closed today as wildlife officials set traps in hopes of finding the attacking bear, which will likely be put down.

—City News Service

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