A woman has recounted the terrifying moment she was attacked by a bear inside her cabin on the shore of Lake Tahoe in California.
Laurel-Rose Von Hoffmann-Curzi found herself face-to-face with the bear on Saturday morning after she went to investigate “thunk” noises coming from the kitchen of her holiday home in Tahoe Vista.
She initially thought the noises were her son being “rough” in the kitchen, until she spotted the animal illuminated by the freezer it was destroying.
“The next thing I knew, I saw the big paw and nothing else. I was just being torn out,” Ms Hoffman-Curzi told SFGate.
She screamed out for help as she threw a quilt over the bear, which she said did not appear ready to retreat.
The commotion awoke Ms Hoffman-Curzi’s son and husband, who rushed in and scared the bear off through the unlocked front door it had used to enter.
She was taken to an emergency room where she underwent surgery to repair lacerations to her face, arms, chest and back.
Ms Hoffman-Curzi attributed her survival to “dumb luck”, noting how close the bear’s claws came to severing her carotid artery.
“I really, truly should be dead,” she said.
Ms Hoffman-Curzi said her home is “meticulously set up to prevent bears” but speculated that this one was drawn in by the smell of avocados on the kitchen counter.
She has been staying at the cabin to protect herself from Covid-19 as she is also battling Stage 4 Lymphoma, which she believes is inhibiting the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.
California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife set up a bear trap outside Ms Hoffman-Curzi’s home in a bid to capture the animal so it can be euthanised, per the agency’s policy.
Patrick Foy, captain of the department’s Law Enforcement Division, told FOX40 that investigators collected a DNA profile of the bear which will be used to ensure that the correct one is apprehended.
Ms Hoffman-Curzi blamed humans improperly securing food and trash for a recent uptick in bear attacks around Lake Tahoe.
“I love wildlife. I love bears,” she said. “But there are bad bears, just like there are bad people. And bad bears need to be relocated, they need to be taken away.”
Ms Hoffman-Curzi said she will steer clear of her Tahoe getaway for a while for fear that the bear will break in again.
“The scary part is [the bear] will do it again,” she said. “And he’ll come to our house again because he knows there’s food in it. This is a dangerous bear.”
She shared her story as a warning to other homeowners to make sure their properties are secure.