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Jessica Gamboa bear attack: Plays dead by going limp in mauling, Bear walks away

Jessica Gamboa lived through a bear attack because of something she remembered from her childhood. "If you're attacked by a bear, play dead." She never gave it much thought until this week while she was out on a jog.

Jessica Gamboa bear attack: Playing dead kept her alive.
Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Gamboa became separated from her husband and ran into a bear and her two cubs. This prompted her childhood lesson to kick in once the mama bear made it clear she was coming for her, according to ABC News on May 30.

While jogging on the sprawling Alaskan military base Gamboa got separated from her husband, who jogs a bit faster than her. She came across a bear cub and knew right away the mama bear couldn't be far behind.

Before she knew it the mother bear appeared along with another cub. The mother bear came out of the bushes and charged her, but instead of fighting or trying to get away, she remained quiet and in a fetal position. The bear picked her up and threw her across the street to where her cubs were.

Then the giant creature lunged at her and then pounced on her with those humongous paws a few times, still she didn't make a sign and stayed limp. The bear finally walked away from Gamboa.

She realized she was badly injured and she could feel she had a cut to her neck. There was blood all over the place. She felt like she had just been run over by a truck. She had a fractured neck and open wounds on her arms and legs. She also had a torn ear.

Not feeling as if she could go very far, she crawled out of the ditch the bear had slammed her down in and started her way back to her truck to call 911. Just then Sgt. Collin Gillikin, a combat medic, came driving down the road. He stopped and took Gamboa to the base hospital.

Gamboa had just cleaned out his truck and all the medical supplies he usually carries were back at the base, but he got her to the hospital for medical help.

He was astonished by her story about playing dead and walking away alive. He said this experienced changed his life. He now realizes that there is something bigger than himself out there. Not usually being a man of faith, this incident changed him for the better.

According to NewsMax, Mark Sledge, senior conservation officer at the base said he knows of only one other bear attack where the victims played dead. This happened back in 2010 when a group of kids came across a bear and played dead.

The bear gnawed on a boy's leg and a little girl yelled at it and it ran off. Sledge said this wasn't a case where you would play dead because when they first encountered the bear it wasn't aggressive. In that case all the kids got away and the boy had minor leg injuries.

Gamboa remains in the hospital recuperating from her harrowing attack. She said that she feels as if she was "beaten half to death." A mother of a four-year-old son, she couldn't help but think of him while going through the ordeal with the bear.