• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 33s

Woman says she played dead in JBER bear mauling

By Lauren Maxwell 2:34 PM May 29, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

It’s hard for Jessica Gamboa to believe she survived the gruesome attack.

It’s 11 days later and she is still healing from deep cuts and broken bones.

It was bad ending to what started as a pleasant day. Gamboa had gone for a run with her husband at Joint Base Elemdorf-Ricahrdson when the couple became separated. Not long after that, she spotted a cub on the side of the trail.

“Immediately my thoughts were, ‘OK, where’s the mama bear?’ Cause if the cub is around, mama bear is not very far,” she said. “And as soon as I did that, I looked back to my left and the mama bear was already coming toward me.”

The bear attacked her three times while Gamboa played dead — advice she grew up hearing that likely saved her life.

“I played dead as best I could. I didn’t really make a noise or scream or fight back for that matter, I just completely surrendered,” Gamboa said.

Thoughts of her 4-year-old son gave Gamboa the strength to keep going, she says. She walked nearly two miles to the Davis Highway where Sgt. Collin Gillikin, a U.S. Army medic, happened to be driving by.

“I was in pure amazement that this woman was still talking and able to comprehend what I was saying,” Gillikin said. “She was holding her neck and I saw a massive amount of blood on her chest and I told her not to move her hands. I figured if she had she might have bled out inside the vehicle on the way to the hospital.”

Gamboa is healing in her hospital bed and visited with the man who saved her. She says the ordeal has taught her a lesson.

“Never underestimate the power of nature,” she said.

–Video courtesy the U.S. Army

Latest Stories

  • News

    Assembly committee debates how pot shops should fit into Anchorage land

    by Liz Raines on Sep 02, 17:11

    The muni’s Community and Economic Development Committee, known as Title 21, explored regulations on marijuana land use on Tuesday afternoon. The meeting was centered around a draft order, created by Erika McConnell of the Anchorage Planning Division. The document focused on nine main questions: 1. Should there be commercial grows in residential neighborhoods? 2. Should […]

  • News

    APD search team assisting in efforts to find missing 12-year-old boy

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 02, 16:47

    The Anchorage Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing 12-year-old. Jacob Noden was last seen Tuesday evening in the Lancelot Circle area near Wonder Park Elementary School, police said in a notice. He is 5-feet-6-inches tall, weighing 120 pounds and has dark hair. He was wearing a white/grey-colored camo jacket […]

  • News

    70 years ago: Japan surrendered, bringing an end to WWII

    by CBS News on Sep 02, 16:29

    It has been seven decades since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan by the United States killing tens of thousands of people and prompting the end of WWII. And it is exactly 70 years ago Wednesday, on Sept. 2, 1945, that 11 men representing Japan arrived aboard the battleship Missouri to surrender their country. American […]

  • News

    Trooper vehicle stolen with suspect in backseat, dumped in Big Lake

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 02, 16:17

    An Alaska State Trooper vehicle was stolen while a suspect sat in the backseat, troopers confirmed. The vehicle was stolen around 2:45 p.m., according to AST spokeswoman Megan Peters. “We had a suspect detained in the back and another suspect was able to enter the vehicle and drive away,” Peters said. The vehicle was located […]

  • News

    Kotzebue mayor on POTUS visit: ‘I was so excited that my appendix burst’

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 02, 15:14

    On a boat not feeling well, at first Kotzebue Mayor Maija Lukin thought she might have had the flu. It had been going around. Within a few hours, however, Lukin realized it was more serious. The timing couldn’t have been worse. She was flown to Anchorage for medical treatment Friday, just days before President Barack […]

  • News

    President Obama shares his visit to Alaska on Instagram

    by KTVA Web Staff on Sep 02, 14:38

    President Barack Obama’s three-day visit to Alaska began with a pointed speech on climate change at the GLACIER conference Monday. Then, to the surprise of diners, the POTUS grabbed breakfast to-go at a well-known Anchorage cafe before flying on Marine One to Exit Glacier and viewing Alaska’s Resurrection Bay from a tour boat. The president has been sharing […]

  • DayBreak

    On the couch with vlogger Cory Williams, Sept. 2

    by Daybreak Staff on Sep 02, 12:15

    Viral vlogger Cory Williams joined Daybreak Wednesday with his latest Alaskan adventure. The latest vlog in his LiveLikeHELLA series showed Williams and his family aboard the Alaska Railroad on a day trip to Denali. He also witnessed his first full double rainbow. “I love the Alaska Railroad,” Williams said. “I love taking the trips through […]

  • News

    Chinese warships in Bering Sea as Obama visits Alaska

    by Associated Press on Sep 02, 11:49

    A U.S. official says five Chinese warships have moved into the Bering Sea near Alaska after participating in a naval exercise with Russia. President Barack Obama is in northern Alaska near the Arctic Circle to discuss climate change. But officials say the U.S. military has been aware of ships and has been tracking their movements […]