Emergency calls from fatal Washington state cougar attack released: ‘I’m so worried about my friend’
Posted On July 22, 2020
Panicked emergency calls from a frightened mountain biker who was attacked by a mountain lion that also killed his friend in Washington state detail his fear and desperation as responders attempted to pinpoint his exact location.
Isaac Sederbaum, 31, was mountain biking with S.J. Brooks, 32, in the remote Cascade Mountain foothills east of Seattle on 19 May when a cougar pounced on them, inflicting fatal injuries on his friend.
Mr Sederbaum was targeted first, with the cougar pouncing before taking “his head in his jaws” and shaking him around violently. Incredibly, the cyclist managed to escape and rode around two miles to get a signal on his mobile phone to alert the emergency services.
After several failed calls, a distressed Sederbaum tells the dispatcher, in recordings of the emergency released to The Seattle Times: “I got attacked by a mountain lion. I don’t know where I am. I am trying to come down the mountain.”
Asked what mountain he is on, the cyclist responds: “I don’t know. I am on like a logging road.I was just following a GPS file.”
As his voice breaks in another call, he tells the dispatcher: “I’m so worried about my friend.”
“Everything hurts,” he adds. “I know,” the dispatcher responds. “But you’re doing a really great job staying calm there.”
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Mr Sederbaum then manages to flag down a couple in a car, asking them: “Can you talk to 911? I got attacked by a mountain lion. My friend is up there.”
The woman, who is unable to give their exact location, attempts to reassure the injured victim and calm him down, telling him: “You’re not going to die.”
Another man driving a truck – only identified as Matt – then arrives at the scene, giving dispatchers an update on his injuries and condition.
“He’s really scared, he wants to get out of the mountains,” he says. “He does have some bad lacerations, particularly on his right ear.”
A deputy arrived at the scene around half an hour after the calls, but it took responders another hour to locate the second victim, who was found dead with the cougar standing on top of him.
The cougar, which was later tracked and shot dead, was described as an “emaciated” 3-year-old, 100lb male by Captain Alan Myers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police.
A necropsy is expected to determine in the coming days whether the underweight animal was ill when it attacked.
The friends had initially managed to scare off the cougar using tactics recommended by wildlife officials before it returned and attacked them again.
“The two victims then took a minute and were catching their breath about this amazing, incredibly scary event that just occurred and suddenly the victim (the survivor) was attacked again by this cougar,” said Capt. Myers.
“It latched onto his head. He said he had his whole entire head in the jaws of this animal and was being shaken around very, very horribly.”
Mr Sederbaum, who suffered serious lacerations to his head, neck and face, has been released from hospital.
Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare, say wildlife officials. It was the first fatal mountain lion attack in Washington state in 94 years.
In North America, roughly 25 fatalities and 95 nonfatal attacks have been reported during the past century.