A Maryland grandmother managed to make a 911 call as a 200-pound black bear mauled her.
Karen Osborne quietly pleaded with a Frederick County 911 operator to “please help me” as she played dead outside her daughter’s rural home in the Catoctin Mountains near Frederick just after 9 p.m. Wednesday.
“Hurry, he’s broken my arms and my legs, I can’t move and I’m bleeding and I’m gonna die,” the 63-year-old desperately whispered during what officials later revealed was the state’s first reported bear attack on a human in 81 years.
“Please tell my husband I love him,” she added via her cell phone as the bear began to circle her again.
Listen to the full haunting call here:
Authorities believe the female bear charged at Osborne after she went outside to check on her daughter’s barking dog and came between the mother and its cubs, reports CBS Baltimore.
Osborne initially tried to fight off the animal, which bit and clawed her on her face, arms, legs and head. But she later decided to curl up in the fetal position and play dead until the bear eventually walked away into nearby woodland.
“She said she punched him in the face a couple times,” the victim’s husband, Ronald Osborne, told The Associated Press. “She’s a tough babe.”
Despite sustaining several broken bones and numerous bite wounds which required more than 80 stitches, Osborne survived the attack. Rescue crews arrived within 10 minutes of her placing the call and took her to a Hagerstown hospital, where she remains in a “good” condition.
Officials for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Wildlife Service tracked down and euthanized the bear, in accordance with state policy to put down bears that attack humans.
“It’s never easy to intentionally kill an animal, but the public safety risk the bear imposed outweighed trying to keep it alive,” the service’s director, Paul Peditto, told ABC News. The animal’s three cubs were deemed old enough to be able to survive without their mother.
Despite the terrifying nature of the attack, authorities sought to play down local residents’ fears.
“This is the rarest of rare,” Candy Thomson, spokeswoman for the DNR Police, told The Washington Post. “This is really unheard of for a bear to attack a human.”