THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER–The father of a 5-year-old British Columbia boy who was attacked by a cougar in Washington state says his son is recovering well from the traumatic ordeal.
Mark Impey was on a hike with his wife and two children in Colville National Forest on Wednesday when he was faced with the most terrifying ten seconds of his life.
Impey and his daughter were walking about 50 metres ahead of his wife and son when he was startled by their screams.
At first, Impey assumed they had stepped on a wasp nest. But when he ran back to check, he saw that a big cat had his son, Simon, by the head and his wife, Dawn, was trying furiously to fend the animal off with a metal water bottle.
"I really think it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Impey said in an interview.
Dawn's repeated blows with the water bottle finally forced the cougar to retreat into the bush.
But it was then that Impey saw Simon's face and Dawn's hands both covered in blood.
"We were quite frightened," he said. "We picked up sticks, I put Simon on my shoulders and we carried him down (to the car)."
It took about an hour to hike back to the vehicle and Impey says his brave little boy didn't cry or complain once. What he didn't realize, however, was that the cougar stalked him and his family all the way back to their car, say conservation officials.
Impey headed for the nearby border crossing and honked his way ahead of two waiting cars.
"I got out of the car and told them it was an emergency and they backed up," he said. "I gave the border guard our passports and told him to tell the hospital we were coming and he waved us through."
Relief came soon after reaching the hospital. "Right away, they determined it wasn't life-threatening and that calmed us down," he said.
He said Simon is doing well, though he is a little self-conscious about his head wounds and new haircut.
"He's happy and is being quite active and is quite calm about the whole thing."