911 calls released of Boy Scout leader mauled by bear in cave

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ByToni Yates via WABC logo
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
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Toni Yates has the details from Rockaway Township.

ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ -- For the first time, 911 calls have been released of a scout leader who got mauled by a bear in New Jersey. The wild animal dragged 50-year-old Scout Master Chris Petronino into a cave in Rockaway Township, and went on the attack.

Petronino escaped the bear, got out of the cave, and was in desperate need of medical attention after trying to fight off the bear. On December 20th, Petronino was airlifted to the hospital after spending what must have felt like a lifetime shouting instructions to his son, and two other scouts to call 911 as he sat trapped into the cave he climbed into - not aware that it was a bear's den.

The boys stayed out of the cave, and directed emergency crews to their location at Split Rock Reservoir.

The trip was not an organized scouting trip, and Petronino was the only adult there. Police say he apparently went into the cave a month before , this time taking the kids up to explore it, going inside first.

Petronino suffered wounds to his head, arms and legs - most importantly, he survived. The kids were not injured.