Smokies bear attack survivor reunited with rescuers

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ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) — The teenage victim of a bear attack reunited with her rescuers on Wednesday.

Back in June, 17-year-old Timnah Roberts was attacked by a bear while sleeping at a back country campsite in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

For the first time since then, she and her family got to meet the park rangers and Tennessee Army National Guard crew who came to her rescue.

“It’s nice to meet with her,” Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Banta said. “It’s one of those things that we don’t get a chance to see them after we drop them off. It’s normally we pick them up, kind of a scoop-and-grab, and we drop them at the hospital.

“They’re taken care of from there and we never hear from them.”

Roberts’ dad Brent recalled the attack.

“My wife and I woke up to Timnah screaming for help right about midnight,” he said.

Because of her remote location, a Tennessee Army National Guard medical flight crew was called in to help. They hoisted Roberts up and took her to UT Medical Center.

She and her family got a first hand look at that rescue helicopter.

“Just the fact that we can go out and help somebody,” Banta said. “That’s what it’s all about. … We put somebody else’s life above our own.”

Her dad says Timnah has recovered completely and quickly. It’s great news – especially considering her injuries.

“She had severe lacerations on her left hand, and then on the top right hand part of her head and then she had some puncture wounds on the backs of one of her arms,” Brent said.

“You would never have known that she had been attacked by a bear a few months ago. Seeing her smile and get out and enjoy life, be with her family, that’s great – especially in the time of the holidays,” Banta said.

Timnah gave each of the rescuers a wood-burned ornament with a picture of a bear, a skill she learned while she was recovering from her injuries.

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