A mum has told of her remarkable escape after being pinned down and mauled by a black bear in a dawn attack at a gospel camp.
Casadi Schroeder, 33, needed 34 staples in her leg after the frightening attack in which an American black bear pinned her down on the forest floor.
The mother-of-three was guest speaking at a Bethel Gospel Camp when she awoke to the bear attempting to claw through her cabin door on June 10.
Casadi and her pastor husband Brad Schroeder, 33, scared the bear away but they feared the animal would attack a group of children sleeping in a tent near the food hall.
The couple did not have a phone signal while camping in Jeanette Lake in Meadow Lake Provincial Park, Saskatchewan, and were unable to raise the alarm.
Keeping a safe distance from the bear, Casadi followed the animal to the food hall to warn campers and disturbed him attempting to climb into the building’s window.
The stay-at-home mum, of Lanigan, Saskatchewan, said she didn’t fear the bear until it began to charge at her, pinning her down and digging its teeth into her leg.
Watching his wife from the cabin window, Brad ran to her aid and began kicking and punching the bear as it gnawed on her legs.
Casadi said: “There was no cell service and I felt really anxious.
“I knew there were kids sleeping in a pop-up tent on the way to the camp’s kitchen and I thought if he was hungry they weren’t safe.
“I told my husband that I didn’t feel good about it.
“I was keeping a good distance from the bear but I knew I had to warn people.
“There was no cell service at this camp so I couldn’t call anyone.
“When I took the blind corner at the kitchen, I saw the bear looking in the window.
“When he saw me, he stopped and turned around.
“I wasn’t scared at that point I just thought he was curious and I knew bear attacks were uncommon.
“In what felt like the blink of an eye he was right in front of me charging toward me and I started to panic.
“I knew I needed to stay calm and not run, but back away slowly.
“He started running at me really fast.
“I felt his teeth sink into my leg. I was so shocked I began yelling at the top of my lungs.
“He was biting me so deep, it felt like it was to the bone.
“I thought I was going to die. I spoke to Jesus at that moment and said, ‘I am ready to go’.
“I knew that if he went anywhere near my neck I was going to be dead.”
“The next thing I saw was this barefoot kick the bear right into his head. It was my husband.”
Brad added: “In a situation like that you don’t even have time to think you just run.
“I have little snippets of memory but all I wanted to do was get that bear off her.”
The bear released Casadi and she managed to run to the nearest cabin where its occupants pulled her inside to safety and alerted 911.
In the meantime, Brad ran to their cabin to make sure the couple’s children Noah, eight, Mika, six, and Phin, two, were safely locked inside.
The ambulance arrived at the remote camp an hour later and rushed Casadi to Meadow Lake Hospital where her wounded legs were stitched together with 34 staples.
Casadi said: “The doctor told me my injuries were the best-case scenario.
“If that bear had bitten me from the waist up I’d probably have life-threatening injuries.
“I think it was God and Jesus who ensured that it wasn’t more serious and that the damage wasn’t life-threatening.”
Conservation officers later trapped the black bear and put it down, fearing it was suffering from rabies and matching its DNA to a hair found on Casadi’s clothes.
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Environment said: “Conservation officers trapped a black bear in the area Sunday afternoon that appeared to be similar to the one involved in the attack.
“The bear was put down and sent to the University of Saskatchewan for a necropsy.
DNA samples were also sent to the Alberta Fish and Wildlife lab in Edmonton for testing.”
“Those tests have confirmed that the bear captured and put down was the same bear involved in the attack.”
Casadi and her family are currently undergoing counseling to work through their trauma, but said the incident would not stop them from camping in the future.
Casadi said: “Our whole family has some psychologist appointments to help us work through the trauma but we feel very blessed.
Casadi said: “While I’m not in the state of mind to go camping yet, I definitely will in the future.”
Brad said: “It’s really a miracle that it wasn’t worse. We’re still praying and processing the whole thing.”