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Calls reveal bravery of boys during bear attack

Posted at 10:14 PM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-30 00:14:01-05

ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (KGUN9-TV) - Newly released 911 audio tapes reveal the bravery, calm and quick-thinking of three Boy Scouts whose scoutmaster was attacked by a bear while they were hiking in New Jersey, according to ABC news.

ABC news reports the young boys' 911 call made on Dec. 20 lasted about an hour and 20 minutes. The three scouts and their leader, Christopher Petronino, 50, had been hiking in Splitrock Reservoir in Rockaway Township, New Jersey, when the bear attacked Petronino in a cave they were exploring.

"I think the bear's on top of him," one scout can be heard telling the dispatch operator on a 911 audio tape.

At one point in the call, one of the scouts said, "If we don't make it out of this alive, I love you guys."

Despite the horror, the scouts were audibly calm as they answered the operator's questions and informed the operator what they were doing in real time, such as making a signal fire or putting food outside the mouth of the cave as bait for the bear, according to ABC news.

Petronino also called 911 to give the dispatcher a better idea of his location.

"I'm sorry about this," he can be heard telling a dispatcher on a 911 tape. "He [the bear]pulled me into the cave."

Petronino said the bear "got me good" and that he was bleeding in the "left arm, left leg, neck and head."

After emergency services arrived, the scout leader was airlifted to a hospital with non-threatening injuries. The three children were uninjured, officials said.