3 Boy Scouts Save Their Leader From Bear Attack

A dramatic tale of survival.

Three young lads from New Jersey will go down in Boy Scout history for their courageous actions that saved the life of their scoutmaster from a bear attack. This occurred during a hike in the forest on Sunday.

Scoutmaster Christopher Petronino, 50, took three of his scouts, and their dog, to a cave near Split Rock Reservoir in Rockaway, New Jersey. As Petronino approached the cave, the unthinkable happened.

A black bear pulled him into the cave.

The bear immediately bit Petronino's shoulders and legs.

"Petronino struck the bear twice in the head with a rock hammer. He then pulled his sweatshirt over his head and curled into the fetal position," Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Bob Considine said in a statement to NJ.com. "He yelled to the scouts, who were outside the cave, to leave and go get help."

The three Boy Scouts, one of them being Petronino's son, called 911, but first responders are unable to locate them in the forest. The Boy Scouts feared that the bear would continue to attack their scoutmaster.

That’s when the Boy Scouts put their training to work.

The Boy Scouts tossed food in the cave to distract the bear. The food included trail mix, bananas and other fruits. The Boy Scouts also employed their training by starting a fire.

"Fortunately the scouts had enough presence of mind that they were actually able, besides calling us on their cell phone, they were actually able to build a signal fire to aid the ground and aerial units," said Rockaway Township Police Chief Martin McParland said to WABC.

But the fire wasn’t meant to get the attention of the first responders, although it did.

They used the fire to draw the bear out of the cave. With the bear gone, Petronino was able to safely evacuate the cave.

80 minutes after the 911 call, first responders arrived. They airlifted Petronino to the hospital and treated him for the bites on his legs and shoulders.

The Boy Scouts, who were completely unharmed, certainly deserve badges for their heroic efforts.

(H/T: NBC New York)