Oregon man rescues woman from bear in Yellowstone Park

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by KGW Staff

KING5.com

Posted on July 11, 2011 at 6:23 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 11 at 4:29 PM

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK-- A man from West Linn, Ore., visiting Yellowstone National Park with his family helped rescue a hiker who was being threatened by a bear.

Dave Beecham, 37, helped the woman escape from the approaching bear Friday at a remote lake in the park. The rescue happened just a few days after a man hiking with his wife in the park was killed by a grizzly bear.

Beecham was in a kayak with his young son and his father-in-law. Beecham saw hiker Erin Prophet coming down toward the lake with the large bear following her. They alerted Prophet, who waded into the water. But the bear kept coming.

Beecham weighed the risks and paddled toward the woman, and the bear.

Photos: Man saves woman from bear in Yellowstone

“We just thought, 'We’ve got to save this woman's life,' but then on the other hand I had my son in the kayak,so we were like, ‘When do we go get her?’ And when the bear got too close we decided we had to take some action,” Beecham said.

The ordeal played out before a CNN camera, as a news crew was interviewing a park ranger about the deadly grizzly attack days before.

The ranger on the scene Friday thought the bear was a juvenile grizzly, CNN reported, but Ranger Kerry Gunther later said it was a black bear, which is smaller and less aggressive than a grizzly, but has been known to attack humans.

Beecham, his father-in-law and his son were able to pull the woman away from shore and across the lake just as the bear entered the water.

“We were afraid the bear was gonna come after us--and it was about 20 or 30 feet away--and we just real calmly stroked the kayak back,” said Beecham.

Beecham is relaxing with family for a few more days, before returning home with an unforgettable memory.

“It feels pretty good you know, to help the lady out,” he said.

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