Woman left partially paralyzed by bison attack describes ‘surreal’ experience

CUSTER STATE PARK, S.D. — A British woman who was gored by a bison while walking in a South Dakota state park was left partially paralyzed by the animal’s attack.

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Amelia Dean remains at the South Dakota hospital where she was first taken seven weeks ago when she was attacked by the bison at Custer State Park, KOTA reported.

Dean told KOTA that she and her friend were walking through the park, had seen the bison, and were trying to keep their distance while walking around it.

“I remember feeling the pressure on my hip,” Dean told KOTA. “My hip being pushed back and I remember the sensation of flying in the air and going head over heels. … The bison stuck around and his hooves were right over my head. I remember them being like right by my head.”

Dean’s injuries were extensive, with one of the bison’s horns piercing her left thigh, severing her femoral artery and damaging nerves in her leg, Dean’s parents told The Guardian.

Matthew and Jacqueline Dean, Amelia’s parents, started an online fundraiser for their daughter’s continued medical treatment. On the website, the Deans said: “We are beyond fortunate that our daughter is still breathing, as she should have bled out in 2-8 minutes after the severed artery and the ambulance didn’t arrive for 20 minutes. It is a miracle that she is alive today.”

The family told The Guardian they are hoping their daughter can see a specialist to treat the paralysis and nerve pain in her leg, saying, “We … simply wish for her to be able to walk and dance again and live her life to the full, without chronic long-term pain.”

Bison are the largest animals on land in North America, reaching 5.5-6.5 feet high and 9-12.5 feet in length, and weighing up to 2,400 pounds, according to Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

There have been a number of incidents involving bison attacking humans in Yellowstone Park. In each of those cases, officials with the National Park Service said that the victims got too close to the animals before they were attacked.

Park rangers say humans should always stay more than 25 yards away from all large animals, including bison, elk, deer and moose.

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