Three off-duty firefighters who were backpacking on Catalina Island saved the life of a conservationist who was charged at and attacked by a bison on a brushy trail Wednesday.
Chris Baker, 43, the president and CEO of the American Conservation Experience, was reportedly conducting field work on the island and mapping out a new trail system, when he was charged by the large, hoofed mammal.
“At first, he kind of looked like he was out of the ‘Walking Dead.’ He looked like a zombie. He had that sort of gate to him and he was holding pressure on his right lower flank and he just said, ‘I need help,'” firefighter Jay Williams told local CBS affiliate in Los Angeles.
Baker’s injuries reportedly include a punched lung, diaphragm, and at least six broken ribs. His situation could have been much worse, but thanks to his basic wilderness knowledge, he was able to spare himself from being further attacked by the animal.
“Apparently, the bison was snorting over him for 10 minutes, he said. He had to play dead and wait for the bison to sort of wander off,” Williams told CBS.
Williams and his two friends and fellow firefighters Arnold Paner and Nathan Norris helped stabilize Baker until he was airlifted off the island and taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
Baker is expected to make a full recovery.
Bison located on Catalina were brought to the Island for a 1924 silent film shoot for the movie Vanishing American.