Lifelong camper Deb Freele was sound asleep in her tent when she felt something was just off. When she opened her eyes, she was face to face with a nightmare: a bear was in the tent and within an instant, it attacked.
"A split second before something told me something was wrong," Freele told "Good Morning America" today. "I woke up and the bear bit down on me. I haven't even moved. I screamed and he bit down harder. He continued to bite and shake and I could hear my bones breaking."
It was then, while the bear's teeth snapped bones in her arm, that Freele said time slowed down, allowing her to come up with another strategy.
"I decided I was going to play dead... I know it doesn't seem like a long time, but your brain was firing and it seemed like a long time," she said. "I went completely limp, like a rag doll. After a few seconds, he loosened his grip and he left."
Freele was one of three victims of a bear attack at the Soda Butte Campground Wednesday just five miles from Yellowstone National Park. The attack took the life of one man at the campground.
"As far as we can tell, all these individuals did everything right," Andrea Jones of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks told reporters Wednesday. "There [were] no food storage issues and we are just going to investigate as best we can...We're investigating using various methods: hair samples, DNA, track size and things of that nature."
Investigating a Bear Attack
Wildlife crews said they captured a grizzly bear and two of her three cubs in traps set up Wednesday night. Officials said they're confident it's the offending bear.
According to official estimates, there are 125 grizzly bears and 500 black bears in the Yellowstone area.
Freele said the attack won't stop her from camping out in the wilderness.
"But I might think twice about Soda Butte," she said.