British Columbia

Man threw rocks to save Coquitlam woman attacked by bear

The rescuer of a Coquitlam, B.C., woman attacked by a bear says he would face another bear again if it meant helping save someone's life.

'We saw a bear over this lady and he was chewing on her'

Mike Cillo says he went to the aid of his neighbour after hearing 'terrifying screams.' ((CBC))

The rescuer of a Coquitlam, B.C., woman attacked by a bear says he would face another bear again if it meant helping save someone's life.

"I would do the same thing for anybody else. I would do the best I can and that's what I did here," said Mike Cillo, who doesn't consider himself a hero, but helped save Katy Yin last Wednesday.

Yin was in her garden around 9:30 a.m. when she was mauled by a black bear. She suffered multiple fractures, deep bruises and countless cuts on her legs, arms and torso. One wound on the back of her head required 20 staples to close.

Katy Yin is expected to spend another two weeks in hospital recovering from a bear attack in Coquitlam, B.C., last week. ((CBC))

Speaking from her bed at Royal Columbian hospital in New Westminster on Tuesday, Yin told CBC News she remembered someone had rammed the bear with a truck while she was being attacked. She called it a risky move that gave other neighbours enough time to drag her to safety.

But Cillo, 56, told CBC News in a subsequent interview he didn't ram the animal with his van.

He said he was driving his van to a nearby mall with his 12-year-old son when he suddenly heard "terrifying screams" from his neighbour in the West Plateau area.

"We drove half a block down the street … We saw a bear over this lady and he was chewing on her," Cillo told CBC News Tuesday.

Police officers stand next to the body of the bear they shot in a Coquitlam, B.C., yard on Aug. 6. ((CBC))

He said he began honking at the bear to distract it while trying to decide his next move.

"I told my son, 'Stay in the van. We're going to drive up there and do what we can for her,'" Cillo said.

"I got out of the van [and] quickly thought, 'What do I do?'" he said.

"I'm not sure if [the bear] grabbed her by the neck in his mouth or by the arm, and he dragged her to the front-door entrance of the house.

"There was blood all over the place. There was blood on her driveway and on her steps."

Cillo began throwing rocks at the bear until some neighbours arrived, and together they managed to scare the bear away from Yin and keep it at bay in the backyard until police arrived.

Coquitlam RCMP said the bear was likely hunting the woman as food. They later shot the animal in a nearby yard.

Yin is expected to remain in the hospital for at least another two weeks.

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