Boy Scouts in Harrowing Bear Story Speak Out

Two of the young Boy Scouts who witnessed their scout leader get pulled into a cave by a bear shared their story for the first time with local media. 

Frankie and Vincent LePore, aged 13 and 12, told ABC News in New Jersey, how they remained calm and helped save their scout leader Christopher Petronino from an even more serious attack. The 50-year-old was showing the boys a small cave he had known about for years when suddenly a bear’s claw reached out from the darkness and yanked him in. 

The scene sounded like something from a horror film and young Vincent confirmed it was scary. Frankie said he thought it was a joke at first until he heard Petronino yell to call ‘911.’ Then he directed his brother to stay calm. 

“I thought this was a serious situation – he might not make it alive if we don’t do something,” Frankie said. 

So the boys called ‘911’ and used a bit of food to coax the bear out of its cave where it was holding Petronino. That and their dog parking helped free their scout leader from the bear’s hold before rescuers arrived with a gurney. In speaking with the ‘911’ operators the boys suggest they build a fire so rescue crews could locate them, which they did, certainly hastening the response.

Petronino suffered abrasions to his head, neck and arms, but all-in-all turned out okay thanks to the heroic action of two young kids. And they certainly lived up to the Boy Scout creed of “do a good turn daily.”

“I felt like a hero cause I saved someone. We saved somebody’s life,” said Frankie.

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