Long Island teen returns home after grizzly attack

July 27, 2011 3:08:52 PM PDT
A grandmother's joyous smile is signal enough that a beloved grandson is home safe and sound after a brush with death in Alaska.

17-year-old Simeon Melman's arrival at LaGuardia Airport came just four days after that now famous grizzly bear attack on him and six classmates happened in a wilderness training school.

Four of the students were injured, two seriously. Melman now says the most difficult part of the ordeal may have been the wait for rescue after an emergency beacon had been deployed.

"It was the most uncertain and terrifying six and a half hours of my life," recalled Melman.

Melman and the others are credited with using their own emergency skills training to help save each other, and that is what most impresses his father, a trauma surgeon.

"I'm amazed how these 17-year-olds, in my opinion kids, but they probably think that they are already adults, were able to pull through, to focus. And to do what they did," said Dr. Alex Melman, Simeon's father.

"Your children surprise you sometimes. They do things you don't really expect of them," added Julia Melman, Simeon's mother.

What the teenager expects to do next, he says, is sleep. He has not had much of that over the past few days. However, Simeon adds that he also hasn't ruled out another trek to the wilderness.

"It's going to take a little time, but I really look forward to getting back out in the wilderness maybe not in Alaska per se or bear country," Simeon Melman said.