Arizona teenager saved by brother after black bear barges into cabin and attacks him

28 May 2024, 05:16 | Updated: 28 May 2024, 07:56

A teenage boy was saved by his brother after a black bear barged into his cabin and left him with scratches across his face and arm - with the animal having a sit down on a sofa on the family's porch after the attack.

Brigham Hawkins, 15, was "just chilling" in one of two cabins on his family's property in Alpine, Arizona, when the bear "walked in through the front door and swiped him across the head" on Thursday evening, his mother Carol said.

Ms Hawkins told Sky News' US partner NBC News that Brigham has a "neurological disorder" and she believes he would have been killed if her other son Parker, 18, had not intervened.

The mother said: "The front door was open to let the cool night air in.

"Brigham was watching YouTube and didn't realise what was happening."

Ms Hawkin said her son "started screaming" during the attack, adding: "[The bear] got him on the nose and the cheek and then went ahead and got his forehead and the top of his head."

Parker ran over from the other cabin in the family's garden after hearing the screams, Ms Hawkins said.

She continued: "Parker at first thought it was a big dog of some kind.

"Then the bear saw Parker and began to chase him. That gave Brigham time to slam the door shut in his cabin."

Ms Hawkins added that Parker then managed to make it back to the other cabin as the bear followed him.

She continued: "[The bear] was just pacing there for a while as we watched him through the window.

"Then he sat down on a couch on the porch and just looked around. It was insane."

Ms Hawkins said that while she dialled 911 and called a neighbour for help, her husband Shane waited for the bear to look away before darting to the cabin where Brigham was holed-up.

"He slammed the door in the bear's face," she said.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), whose agents arrived at the scene, said at one stage during the family's ordeal the bear entered Brigham's cabin a second time before "swiping at the victim's arm".

However, the bear was no longer besieging the cabins by the time the AZGFD agents arrived.

"After arriving on scene, AZGFD wildlife officers were able to quickly locate and dispatch the bear," the agency said in a statement.

The bear was a male estimated to be three years old and his carcass will be tested for diseases, the AZGFD said.

Ms Hawkins said her son is "doing better" and has already received a round of rabies shots as a precaution.

Reflecting on why the bear may have attacked, she said: "He may have just been hungry... but that's just not a normal way for a bear to behave."

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Ms Hawkins continued: "[Brigham] has a neurological disorder and would not have been able to get away from the bear.

"It took a few miracles happening at the same time to save him."

She added: "This really could have been a lot worse.

"We're still in disbelief that this happened, but we're also feeling very blessed."

There have been 16 bear attacks on people in Arizona since 1990 - with two of them having been fatal, according to the AZGFD.

The most recent fatality occurred when a 66-year-old man was killed while drinking a cup of coffee in the woods in Prescott last year.