Authorities praised the efforts of the three scouts

By Tara Fowler
Updated December 29, 2015 10:45 AM
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Christopher Petronino, 50, who was hiking Splitrock Reservoir in Morris County with the three scouts, including his son, began to enter the cave when the bear grabbed his foot and pulled him inside.

“I think the bear’s on top of him,” one of the scouts says in the 911 call, which was obtained by NBC News.

“Do you want us to make a signal fire? Would that help?” the scout asks the dispatcher.

Petronino eventually managed to get out from under the bear and call 911 himself. “I was mauled by a bear,” he tells the dispatcher. “[I’m bleeding from the] left arm, left leg, neck and head. I’m getting cold pretty quick.”

Meanwhile, the three scouts continued to try to get the attention of the rescuers that were searching for them by this point. “Guys, on three, on three, everyone’s gonna yell, ‘Hello can you hear us?’ ” the scout says while still on the phone with 911.

Finally, they catch sight of the helicopter. “We’ll make it out of this alive,” says the relieved scout. “I love you guys.”

Petronino was airlifted to Morristown Medical Center for treatment. In all, he spent about 80 minutes in the cave before escaping, authorities said.