A Canadian soccer coach used some fancy foot and body maneuvers to prevent a potentially fatal mountain lion attack on a young boy in the British Columbia backcountry last week.
Colton Reeb, 12, was camping with a friend and her family at their summer residence northeast of Kamloops when the attack occurred. Authorities said the big cat apparently ambushed the youngster as he walked to the outhouse one evening last week.
Responding to the boy’s screams for help, Mark Patterson, 45, found the mountain lion in unmistakable attack mode, clawing at the youngster’s chest and biting his head.
“I’m a soccer player and I kicked the cougar in the head five times and it didn’t flinch, so I grabbed him by the throat and squeezed as hard as I could and he finally let go,” Patterson later told the Calgary Sun newspaper.
With the boy free from the lion’s grip, the stout 5-foot-6, 210-pound Patterson confronted the hissing attacker with his bare hands.
“I growled back at him and said ‘I’m ready to go!’” said Patterson.
After less than a minute of hand-to-paw combat, the cougar retreated into the brush.
Colton, who was taken quickly to the closest hospital and subsequently airlifted to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, suffered non-life-threatening bite and claw wounds to his face, neck, head and upper chest. He received more than a hundred stitches and will likely need some plastic surgery procedures.
Investigating conservation officers later found the 70-pound cougar near the scene of the attack and killed the animal.
Robin Reeb, Colton’s father, credits Patterson with saving his son’s life.
“He attacked this thing with his bare hands and kicked the s*** out of it,” Reeb said. “If it weren’t for him, my son would be dead.”