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George Knoll's story: How to survive a grizzly bear attack

07/17/2015 09:24 EDT | Updated 07/17/2016 05:59 EDT
From his hospital bed, George Knoll has time to reflect on what happened and what he did when he was attacked in B.C. on Thursday by a mother grizzly bear protecting her cub.

It's a luxury he didn't have at the time when life or death hung on split-second decisions.

Grizzly bear attack near Bella Bella, B.C., ends with kick to the face

Here in his own words is his account of what happened:

'This thing is going to eat me'

I was walking, doing my job and all of a sudden this grizzly bear appeared behind this stump and she stood there 20 feet away from me and I saw her and I saw she had a cub with her. 

At this point in time, I started backing up because I  knew I was in trouble because of the cub and she charged me right away.

She stood up and looked at me and started running at me.

I started running backwards and sideways but I didn't get very far because she just came right at me.

She tackled me and started biting me instantly on my arm and I thought, 'This is it. I'm going to die. This thing is going to eat me.'

'I could feel her ripping my flesh'

I tried to play dead. I protected my arm, tried to protect my neck. 

I curled into a ball as tight as I could but she was pulling me, biting and ripping,

I could feel her ripping my flesh. I was getting thrown around like a rag doll. At that point I thought, 'What a shitty way to go.' I'm not going to be able to see my daughter, my wife.

I tried to stay still but it wasn't helping. She kept attacking and jumping and biting. I could feel my arm getting torn and at that point in time, I decided I better do something.

'I kicked her right in the face.'

I  kicked her in the face with my boots, I have these cork boots, I kicked her in the face twice, and at that point, she stopped attacking me. she started pacing back and forth and snorting.

She came back at me, and I kicked her again, right in the face because I knew playing dead wasn't helping. I wasn't doing a very good job of screaming at her and yelling.

I remember distinctly the bad breath on that bear. It smelled like rotten fish. Dirty fur. She was breathing on me. I could feel her breath as she was biting me. She stunk and she was like chuffing, making chuff noises like woof.

It was quiet though. eerily quiet. The whole incident was eerie, this battle of wits.  

She had no reason to attack me but because of her cub and I had no reason to be there other than I was working. It seemed kinda eerie when I think back on it. 

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