Minot Airmen Confront Bison After it Attacks Man at Theodore Roosevelt National Park
July 4th is a time to celebrate one of the world's great nations. And some of those men who help protect it, had one heck of a camping trip.
According to an article posted to the website of the Minot Airforce Base on Friday (July 7), seven Airmen from the base were camping at Theodore Roosevelt National Park on July 1.
The men were enjoying some time off, camping out and eating s'mores. In the distance, they heard a man cry for help. After hearing the man's screams several times, the Airmen knew they had to find out where it was coming from and spring into action.
Eventually, they found the man, on top of rocks saying the words, "blood," "attack," and "bison." The bison had not yet left the scene of the attack.
One of the airmen, Christopher Velazquez had his concealed carry weapon out and was ready to fire if necessary.
I was scared,” Velazquez said in the article posted on the Minot AFB site. “I was thinking about proper use of force. Do I just kill this animal and suffer all the consequences? I really didn’t want to, but at the same time this guy is non-stop screaming for help. I was torn on the right thing to do. I was balancing a man’s life with a bison’s.”
The group of airmen were contemplating what to do and felt they needed to call 9-1-1. There was only one problem. Service is pretty spotty out in the middle of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Finally someone (Allie Staffen) was able to find service and fortunately the 9-1-1 operator was familiar with the area and able to help get an ambulance to the area. Staffen claimed it was the "clearest one-bar service I ever had."
But a problem still remained. The injured individual was still on top of the rocks and the bison was still waiting down below.
Velazquez eventually decided to fire his weapon into the ground to try and scare the bison off. It didn't work. The bison ended up coming right at the Airmen. They all piled into a nearby car and waited. Eventually the bison wandered off.
The Airmen then attended to the injured man who had a gash in the back of his leg almost all the way to the bone. The man was apparently delirious due to massive blood loss. But the Airmen worked together to apply pressure and used a shirt to bandage the man's leg.
The man was escorted into the nearby car and then eventually brought to an ambulance that entered the park. A press release issued by the National Park Service identified the injured man as 65 year old Michael Turk from Alaska. Turk apparently was taking photos of the bison when it attacked. He was treated and released at McKenzie County hospital. The Park Service recommends visitors stay at least 25 yards away from wild animals. The Park Service also noted that while it is legal to carry firearms under certain conditions, discharging one at a national park is not legal.
It's unclear if Velazquez is facing any charges.
Regardless, what an incredible job by the Airmen from Minot Air Force Base. Check out more details on the Minot Air Force Base website.