(NEW YORK) — When their scout leader was attacked by a bear, two New Jersey brothers — just 12 and 13 years old — could have run off, but they stayed calm and knew exactly what to do, and their bravery and survival skills saved a life.
“I thought this was a serious situation,” Boy Scout Frankie Lepore said. “We might not make it alive if we don’t do something.”
Frankie, 13, and Vincent Lepore, 12, were part of a small group hiking two weeks ago in New Jersey when their scout leader, Christopher Petronino was grabbed by a black bear near a cave. The bear grabbed his leg and pulled him inside.
“At first I thought he was joking, but then I heard the bear and heard him ‘Call 911,'” Frankie Lepore said.
Instead of panicking, the two boys used what they’d learned in Boy Scout training.
“The main thing to do was just to stay calm,” Lepore said.
They called 911, and threw food towards the cave in an effort to lure the bear out.
They also came up with a plan to help rescuers find them deep in the woods. They asked the 911 operator whether it would help if they made a signal fire to lead responders to them.
That fire was soon spotted by rescuers, and the barking of Petronino’s dog helped scare off the bear.
“It was very scary, yeah,” Vincent Lepore said.
Petronino was airlifted to a hospital. He is still recovering from his injuries.
“I felt like a hero cause I saved, we saved somebody’s life,” Frankie Lepore said.
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