Boy Scouts speak out after saving leader from bear attack in Rockaway Township

ByMarci Gonzalez via WABC logo
Monday, January 4, 2016
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ABC's Marci Gonzalez has the story.

ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WABC) -- There is not a badge for the kind of bravery it took for two Boy Scouts to help save their scout leader from a bear attack in New Jersey.

"I thought this was a serious situation - he might not make it alive if we don't do something," says Frankie Lepore.

Brothers Frankie and Vincent Lepore were part of a small group hiking two weeks ago in Rockaway Township, saying their scout leader Christopher Petronino was near a cave when a black bear grabbed Petronino by the leg, and pulled him inside.

"At first I thought he was joking, but then I heard the bear and heard him say 'call 911'!', says Frankie.

Instead of panicking, their Boy Scout training kicked in.

"The main thing to do was just stay calm," Frankie adds.

The boys called 911, and threw food towards the cave to try to lure the bear out. The also came up with a plan to help rescuers find them deep in the woods. On 911 calls, the boys said they would make a signal fire in order to be found.

The fire and Petronino's dog's barking scared the bear off. Rescuers arrived soon after, airlifting the scout leader to the hospital.

"It was very scary," adds Vincent.

The boys did make it out along with Petronino, who is now recovering, because of the two Boy Scouts who took to heart their oath, to 'help people at all times.'

"I felt like a hero cause I saved someone. We saved somebody's life," says Frankie.

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