TORRANCE (CBSLA.com) — Three off-duty firefighters backpacking on Santa Catalina Island came to the aid of a man gored by a bison, helping him off a trail.
Chris Baker, 43, remains hospitalized after the attack near Isthmus Pier earlier this week.
“To me, he seemed like, just like that grateful look that somebody was there to help him out,” said Arnold Paner, a Torrance firefighter, of Baker.
Paner, along with friends Nathan Norris and Jay Williams were backpacking on the island when they saw Baker stumbling down a trail badly injured.
“At first, he kind of looked like he was out of the ‘Walking Dead.’ He looked like a zombie. He had that sort of gate to him and he was holding pressure on his right lower flank and he just said, ‘I need help,’ ” Williams, a Brentwood firefighter, said.
Baker is the CEO and president of the American Conservation Experience and was doing field work on the island when the bison charged him.
The incident happened near the Two Harbors area.
“Apparently, the bison was snorting over him for 10 minutes he said. He had to play dead and wait for the bison to sort of wander off,” Williams said.
Baker was airlifted off the island and taken Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
According to Norris, Baker’s injuries include a punched lung, diaphragm, and broken ribs, which Norris says could have been worse.
“After the fact, he explained to us that he had basic wilderness first-aid type of class which saved his life,” Norris said.
The fate of the bison behind Baker’s attack is not yet known, according to wildlife officials.
Baker is expected to make a full recovery. Paner, Norris, and Williams have already been to his hospital room and said he’s in good spirits.