Something Bit Me (2022–…): Season 1, Episode 6 - I Was Just Like a Ragdoll... - full transcript

ERIN: People often tell me that I'm pretty
crazy to live here.

It can be very easy to forget that you're
in this space that you share.

They're very quiet animals
and they're very sneaky.

I think that the intention
was to kill and eat me.


NARRATOR: Churchill, Manitoba, a small
town on the western shore

of the Hudson Bay in northern Canada.

Despite only 900 residents, it supports a
popular tourism industry

for those willing to brave
its rugged landscape

and frigid temperatures in hopes of seeing
an abundance of Arctic wildlife.

One of those 900 residents is Erin Greene.

I live in Churchill, Manitoba.
Lots of cold and snow and wind.

It does get to -60 degrees
Celsius in the winter,

so frostbite and hypothermia
are real things here.

The thing about Churchill is, you know,
you either love it or you don't.

The draw of Churchill to me was really the
natural aspect of it.

The Hudson Bay on one side filled with the
beluga whales and the Churchill River

on the other, and then the tundra in
between with foxes and Arctic hares

running around, and eagles flying in the

and moose and caribous and polar

To me, it seemed like this is the way that
the world should be,

this kind of man and nature co-existing in

its former relationship, I think.

NARRATOR: It's the night
of October 31st, 2013,

Erin and her friends are
excited to attend the annual

Halloween party at the
local Seaport Hotel.

ERIN: So, there's not a lot of big social
events that happen in Churchill

where people get to dress
up and things like that.

So, the Halloween party is quite an
exciting time for everybody in Churchill.

Everybody likes to attend this event.
So, my friends and I got dressed up.

I was dressed up as Cindy Lauper because
I love the eighties. (laughs)

My friend, Nicky, is dressed up as a cat
and my friend, Mike, he was wearing,

like, normal clothes.
You know, we're having a good time.

We were there for a little while.
And then I was working at a restaurant,

so I had to work in the
morning and I wanted to get some sleep.

You know what? I have a really early
morning, so I'm gonna head out.

I was gonna walk home.
It was like a block away.

Nicky and Mike, they said, "Oh, you know,
we'll leave with you too".

So, we put on our snow
gear, out boots, our jacket, all of that.

That night was actually
really quite quiet.

I remember that specifically, that the
street was really quiet.

We were just talking and laughing as we
were crossing the street.

We were making lots of
noise. We're in a group,

which is what we're supposed to do when
we're walking home.

We get to probably about the edge of the,
where the sidewalk kind of ends

and the road begins and I can't even say
for certain what made Nicky turn

and just look over her shoulder.

I think it was just, you know, a stroke of
luck that she happened to look

over her shoulder and
that point, and she says,

"Oh, my god, guys, there's a bear".

There's a running polar
bear that's coming at us.

NARRATOR: An Arctic predator, the
polar bear is the

largest land carnivore on Earth.

These massive animals
can weigh up to 1500lbs

and stand up to 10ft
tall on their hind legs.

Heavily insulated with a keen sense of
smell, they are excellent swimmers

built to hunt seals on sea
ice and in the water.

My name's Doug Clark, I'm an
Associate Professor

at the School of Environment and

at the University of Saskatchewan.

My research focuses on
wildlife-human conflicts

and has a pretty big
emphasis on northern Canada.

I'm 5 ft 9", a male polar bear standing on
four legs will look me in the eye.

These are big animals. When you see them
up close, there is muscle mass

and strength here that's
like we can't wrap our heads around it.

Polar bears are incredibly
smart and they are really dedicated,

really skilled hunters, and
that's what sets them apart

from the other bears, evolutionary,

biologically, and behaviorally.

- They behave like a hunter all the time.
- NICKY: Oh, my god, bear!

ERIN: You're not supposed to run when
you see a polar bear,

but there were seconds before this bear
is actually gonna already be where we are.

So, we had no other option but to run.

But, from the moment that we saw the bear,

I think we all knew that we weren't gonna
make it very far.

It was just a matter of
who the bear was gonna get.

So, there's no way a human is
gonna outrun a polar bear,

so Erin and her friends did not have a

whole lot of good options in that

Running though is something that can get
a bear to chase you.

It's one of the hardest things you could
imagine to do

is to not run when, you know,
you're confronted with a large predator.

Every part of your body says run.

You have to override it
and that's an extremely hard thing to do.

ERIN: We kept running, hoping to either
get into a house or a vehicle,

but the bear was just too fast. I looked
over my shoulder,

the bear was looking straight at me,
and the minute that I locked eyes with it,

I could tell that it was coming for me,

that I was the one that
it was gonna attack,

and I knew it from the
moment that I saw its face.

So, making eye contact with a
polar bear is a pretty intense thing.

Polar bears and other bears communicate
with us typically through body language.

So, polar bears interpret
eye contact as a challenge.

And it's possible that
Erin making eye contact

may have been interpreted
by that bear in that way.

It passed my friend, Nicky.

It, like, grazed her and
it passed my friend, Mike.

And it circled around the back and then
grabbed onto my head with its jaw

and started to rip my scalp off.

QUENTIN: Just a family vacation, spent a
lot of time on the beach.

It's a beautiful pier, it's
always full of people.

We usually don't mess with the animals, we
just put 'em back in the water,

nothing unusual there until that night.

NARRATOR: Frisco, North Carolina, a
small beach community

on Hatteras Island in North
Carolina's outer banks.

This desolate barrier island
is a hot spot for sea life

and a popular tourist destination.

Tourists like the Tokar
family who have been looking forward

to this trip all summer long.

My name is Quentin Tokar.
I'm from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

I basically just like riding a
four-wheeler and hanging out with family.

I have a big family. I'm the
youngest one out of five.

I'm Candace Tokar, I'm 49, and
Quentin's my son.

Quentin was kind of a momma's boy, so he
spent a lot of time with me

and he would help me clean and he helped
me do stuff around the house

and the other boys would make fun of him.
But he was my baby.

QUENTIN: August 4th, 2010, we were in

Frisco, Outer Banks, just a family

CANDACE: We, honestly,
didn't always have a lot,

but we always spent time going somewhere
for that week together.

Great time, lots of people
all stay in the same house.

QUENTIN: We spent a lot of time on the
beach, corn hole and ladder ball,

and cook up food and
have a grand old time.

CANDACE: The kids kept coming to us, they
wanted to go to the pier.

NARRATOR: As the sun is
setting, Candace and her husband, Peter,

take 10-year-old Quentin and one of his
friends down on nearby Avon Pier,

a popular fishing spot.

QUENTIN: It's a beautiful
pier, lots of fish brought up down there.

The two that the kids really
enjoy seeing are the sharks

and then also the stingrays. I was always
anxious with the kids,

worried that someone was gonna fall off,

someone was gonna get hooked. Like, when
someone catches one,

you don't just charge up, there's things
you need to do.

QUENTIN: It's about 11:30 at night, we
were getting ready to leave

and we heard somebody had a stingray, so
we waited to see it come up.

I was about 10ft away from it and it's
beautiful, you know, the wings on it,

it was probably about
a 3ft wingspan on it.

Beautiful, beautiful creatures.

And we never messed with
them, you know, we'd just catch 'em

and see 'em, get pictures,
and put 'em back.

CANDACE: But that day
there was a guy, I don't know who he was,

- and he was trying to break off the barb.
- QUENTIN: I don't know what he was doing.

We usually don't mess with the animals, we
just put 'em back in the water.

But he really wanted that barb.

And he just come right
up in and he started prying on it.

I don't know,
they say it's like a prize or something.

I personally don't like that.
I think that they need it for defense.

I don't think we should mess with 'em,
especially since we're putting 'em back.

QUENTIN: He tried to break it off with a
pair of pliers,

but he couldn't get it off.

- I believe that my words were...
- Just leave it alone.

Well, he couldn't get the barb off, so
they flipped the stingray and then.


As soon as it hit, I could feel it.

My stomach started to hurt, just I knew
something wasn't right.


As it was dark out, it was scary, I didn't
know what it was.

It hurt. I was hollering.

CANDACE: I didn't realize that there was
even anything

until Quentin started screaming,

he's like, "Get it out
of me! Get it out of me!"

Get it out! Get
it out! Get it out!

CANDACE: I'm like, you
know, "Pull your shirt up",

thinking it was a bee that was in there.

QUENTIN: Dad finally pulled my shirt up
and he saw the barb sticking out.

CANDACE: The barb from the
stingray was actually in him.

NARRATOR: With over 220
species across the globe,

this bottom-feeding relative of the shark
can grow up to 6ft wide

and can weigh in at over 750lbs.
Generally found in shallow coastal waters,

the stingray is equipped
with a sharp serrated barb on its tail,

which is coated in a deadly painful venom.

Dr Camila Cáceres, a marine biologist and
shark researcher,

studies these creatures.

So, stingrays are part of a larger group
of fish called rays

and, so, not all rays have a barb, only a
small proportion of them do

and those are the ones
that are called stingrays.

So, North Carolina, the
southern stingray is probably very common

and you can see those around
piers or around anywhere

where people are kinda throwing their
scraps and throwing their leftover bait.

So, we do have a lot of encounters between
stingrays and humans.

Stingrays use their barb if they see
they're really about to be eaten

or they're about to be caught.

So, of course, the stingray
gets startled and, you know,

it uses its barb to jab at the predator.

CANDACE: It literally came out of nowhere.

It goes through my shirt and hit me in
the stomach right here,

just like being stabbed, just straight in.

I mean, it went through the air,
through his t-shirt,

and into him, and nobody saw it.

QUENTIN: I don't know if the stingray barb
got stuck on a board on a pier

and just kinda snapped the barb off

and catapulted through the air 10ft and
stuck right into my stomach.

NARRATOR: It flew 10ft through the air,
which is not typical stingray behavior.

DR CÁCERES: I mean, it's definitely a
bit of a mystery.

They have the ability to release it in to,
you know, attack a predator

so that they can escape,

but having a stingray launch a barb
multiple feet is just very rare.

I mean, nature is stranger than fiction,

but, really, the barb is a defense

it's a last-ditch effort where it's life
or death for them to protect themselves.

NARRATOR: Stingrays use their barbs for
defense and not to hunt,

especially not humans.

DR CÁCERES: Stingrays
definitely want nothing to do with humans.

Humans are not a part of their diet.

Stingrays are a massive predator,

when they eat smaller crabs and lobster as
well as some small fish,

but they're also important for larger
predators like sharks.

You see in movies, you know,
somebody gets stabbed

and all of a sudden
there's blood everywhere.

There wasn't blood everywhere. I wanted
somebody just to pull it out.

Dad was right next to me and he had
his hand across my stomach,

his first instinct was to pull it.

He started to reach for it, he was getting
ready to pull it out,

but luckily there was a nurse on the pier.

- CANDACE: Pull it out!
- I'm a nurse! You can't pull it out.

She started hollering, "No, don't
pull it, don't pull it!"

CANDACE: The nurse said, "You cannot, you
absolutely cannot pull this thing out,

- you have to leave it in".
- QUENTIN: Yeah, she saved my life.

DR CÁCERES: Under any circumstance, you
should not pull it out

because you might bleed to death.
You wanna leave it kind of clogged up.

The barbs can be extremely sharp.
They're made to puncture skin and muscle.

And it has these serrated edges that if
you take it out it might cause more damage

and more ripping of the
skin, muscles, or organs.

NARRATOR: A barb wound can prove fatal,

as it did for the late Crocodile Hunter,
Steve Irwin.

DR CÁCERES: Steve Irwin
was a very rare case.

People believe that it was a combination
of how close he was to the stingray

and the fact that it went, you know,
straight to his heart.

Unfortunately, it just did not leave much

for him to be able to survive after.

The nurse on the pier
definitely saved his life.

Quentin is in a life or death situation

and needs medical attention as soon as

QUENTIN: All the people on
the pier were hollering and screaming.

Four or five people were
on the phone with 911.

Dad was right next to me.
He actually wound up passing out.

As I was looking down and seeing the barb,
I just wanted it out of me.

The nurse, she was holding it, trying to
keep it from going in,

but every breath I took it was just going
deeper and deeper into my stomach.

NARRATOR: In the northernmost regions
of Manitoba, Canada,

a polar bear attacks Erin
Greene, clenching her head in its jaws.


ERIN: I could hear its breath, I could
feel the bear sort of ripping my scalp,

and its paws were hitting me
and then sometimes, like,

just placed on my shoulders and my back,
and, like, pushing against me.

And I actually couldn't
hear anything after that.

DR CLARK: Polar bears have
been known to hunt people unsuccessfully

and successfully, and that behavior is not
totally unique to polar bears,

other bears will do it but at nowhere near
the frequency that polar bears exhibit it.

It is a normal part of
polar bear behavior.

Most of the time when
polar bears hunts seals,

they're hunting either at a
breathing hole or in a den

where the first part of the seal they're
gonna contact is the seal's head.

So, polar bears go for the head.

ERIN: The level of fear that I have never
even been close to feeling before

and something that really stayed with me
was the violence of the situation,

just how aggressive the bear was.

I knew that my scalp had been ripped off,
but there was no sensation.

And then, you know, the
reptilian brain took over

and I just started to
physically fight the bear.

I just fought for my life.

I had read that the nose
is the most sensitive part of the bear,

that if ever you are in a situation you
would try to hit it in the nose

with something 'cause that would maybe
stun it. So, that's what I did.

I started trying to punch overhead trying
to get it in the snout.

Having your head in a polar bear's jaws is
about as bad as it gets,

but anything you can do to make it more
difficult for the bear

is probably going to be helpful.

So, moving, being uncooperative, fighting
back, as Erin did,

those are things that can be done.

And, in a bear's head, you've actually got
within reach

a lot of its more vulnerable
areas, its nose, its eyes.

Those are incredibly important to a bear.

If a bear's sensory system
gets disabled by, you know, by an injury,

that impairs that bear's ability to hunt,

and that's going to affect its survival
odds very, very quickly.

ERIN: I couldn't hear my friends anymore,

so I didn't even know
if they were still there.

I was screaming, trying to
get the attention of anyone.

I felt that I was alone in this moment and
that it was just me and the bear,

and, so, I just kept punching
it and I like to think that

I got a good shot in
because he dropped me.

Now I'm on the ground and I'm in a little
ball trying to figure out,

okay, this is the moment
that I get where I can potentially escape.

So, I was looking for the
closest vehicle or house

and as I was looking around
and then looked back up,

I could see that he went
from all fours back up onto his hind legs

and he was coming back down for me.


NARRATOR: On a pier in North Carolina,
10-year-old Quentin Tokar is suffering

from a stingray barb
lodged in his abdomen.

His mother, Candace, is
desperate to find him help.

I was on the phone
with 911 and, Quentin,

he is laying across coolers not moving.

There was nothing anybody could do. It
was just horrible.

It was horrible.

You feel helpless.

Looking at him just felt like he was a
baby of five and

he was my baby and we... I'm sorry.

I was certain that I had
lost my son that night.

NARRATOR: They struggle to keep the barb
from digging deeper into Quentin's body

as paramedics finally arrive.

CANDACE: I know that Sandy, who was the
nurse on the pier,

was still holding onto that barb trying
not to let it go completely in.

And then, you know, when the paramedics
got there, they're like,

"Listen, you know, you're just gonna have
to let go of it".

And she did and then it
went the whole way in. It was gone.

DR CÁCERES: Because the barb is serrated,
if you do any sort of muscle movement,

it's likely to just help
it dig deeper and deeper.

So, now that the barb is fully inside of
him, there's multiple dangers.

The main one, of course,
is potential blood loss,

but also certain barbs can be venomous,

the fact that he was
a child and, you know, smaller in weight,

would probably put him at a greater risk
than an adult,

and then as well, of course,

the puncture to his vital organs, which,
regardless of the venom or the depth,

can be super dangerous.

However, what's really
dangerous here is all of the bacteria

and germs that you can find in ocean water
that has now, you know, entered his wound.

QUENTIN: I'm on the stretcher, I finally
get in the ambulance,

and they did give me some pain medicine.

CANDACE: We were getting ready to leave
in the ambulance,

they said we were going to
a landing pad, then I said,

"Well, can't we just get him, you know,

can't we just get him to a
hospital?" and he said.

If you want your son to live, we've gotta
get him over to Virginia.

NARRATOR: With precious
seconds ticking by,

medics rush Quentin to the helipad for a
flight to Sentara Norfolk

General Hospital in Virginia, over 100
miles away.

(rotors whirring)

They said it would
be about a 20-minute flight.

We were in flight for about 10, maybe 15
minutes, I had been watching the time.

The person on the flight
leaned over and she said,

"I don't want you to get
upset of overreact,

but we have to turn around and go back".

QUENTIN: We were about
five minutes away and there was tornadoes,

and we had to turn around and go back.
Mom was freaking out.

CANDACE: The thought that I would have to
go the whole way back

and we were so close, it
was just, it was a mess.

NARRATOR: Back in Churchill, Canada,

Erin Greene has fought
off the polar bear's first attack.

Now, she prepares herself
for its second onslaught.

ERIN: I knew that my scalp was bleeding.

I could feel warm blood just kind of
flowing down the back of my neck.

So, I just thought he's
gonna come back for my head,

that's where he went the first time,

and I made sure that my neck was kind of
tucked down,

and, so, I tucked down into a ball.

NARRATOR: For Dr. Clark, the fact that
Erin survived the initial attack

is a clue that this is
likely a younger bear.

Juveniles will be less experienced and
certainly will not have had

a whole lot of experience trying to
take down a person.

I mean, that's just not part of their
suite of experience very often,

so they're gonna be trying it out.

And, so, if you're grabbed by a juvenile,
you probably wanna try to fight back.

NARRATOR: Juvenile polar bears may be more
aggressive because they're more hungry.

So, an adult bear will come shore with
hundreds of pounds of fat reserves.

A sub-adult, you know, maybe a hundred if
it's doing really, really, really well,

probably not. They're more
likely to be nutritionally stressed

and that's yet one more factor that
makes them likelier

to come into conflict with people.

ERIN: And then the bear, he came back down
and picked me up from the shoulders

and then tried to shake me.

He was just swinging me
around like a rag doll.

And in that moment, there's three things
that kind of happened to us

when we're in extreme
situations like this,

we either fight, flight, or freeze, and my
friend, Michael, unfortunately

got the freeze option out of those three,
and he couldn't move

and he just watched the whole thing,
so that was

really, really traumatizing for him.

I kind of came to the realization
that it's just me

and this bear and this
is the way that I die.

A kind of peaceful wave, almost, washed
over me, looking at this, you know,

peaceful street and the snow.

And, all of a sudden, I heard a voice.


My name is William Ayotte.

I've lived in Churchill for
approximately 74 years.

I was on the couch watching TV and I could
hear screaming outside.

When I opened the door,
what exploded into view was a polar bear

and it had Erin by the
head. Couldn't believe what I was seeing.

I didn't have a rifle,
I didn't have a shotgun.

So, I saw this snow shovel sitting there,

I picked the snow shovel
up and I said to myself,

"Well, you're committed now, either you're
gonna do something or you're not".

So, I found myself heading over towards
Erin and the bear.

I had to save her.

ERIN: So, all I could
hear was like a voice, a human voice.

I wasn't aware of who it was
or what they were saying.

I just became really aware that there's
somebody here

and somebody's here to help me.
That kind of turned on the switch that

there's still potential
for me to survive this,

and that voice just kind of lit me right
back up and I was ready to fight again.

NARRATOR: 20 minutes into a medevac flight

and 10-year-old's Quentin
Tokar's emergency

helicopter is forced to turn back due to
dangerously high tornado winds.

At a nearby landing pad, EMTs transfer the
injured boy into an ambulance

headed to the nearest children's hospital
73 miles away.

QUENTIN: We get back to the helicopter pad

and get in the ambulance
and we start heading for the hospital.

It just hurt, you know,
being stabbed, sharp, excruciating.

I couldn't even really think.
It, I just was in pain.

NARRATOR: It's not just the barb's
serrated edge that Quentin must endure,

for venomologist and author,
Dr Christie Wilcox,

the chemical component
at work makes the wound even more painful.

Stingray barbs are these unbelievably
terrifying evolutionary weapons.

I mean, you're talking this 3- to 4-inch
serrated blade also laced with toxin,

both causing physical trauma
and causing chemical trauma.

He's going to be experiencing an
unbelievable amount of pain.

Stingray venom is incredibly painful.

That's its whole job, to cause pain, to
teach a predator

not to mess with a stingray.
So, every time Quentin is breathing,

his muscles are unfortunately pulling that
barb deeper and deeper in.

And, as it does that, more
of this venomous tissue

that is lined in these
grooves is coming in inside of him,

it is starting to leach out even more
venom, so the pain has gotta be getting

unimaginable at this point,
which could cause shock,

it could cause these sort of systemic pain
reactions that can be life-threatening.

CANDACE: It was like I
was completely alone.

I remember just, you know,
just trying to talk to Quentin.


It was a nightmare. I just
wanted him to be okay.


QUENTIN: We finally get into the hospital
and I do remember alarms going off

in there for emergency surgery.

CANDACE: I heard over the intercom that
they were calling from the trauma team

to assemble, and it's very surreal when

you actually hear it and you know, like,

QUENTIN: The last thing I remember before
going into surgery was waving to mom.

I remember seeing her right
before they took me back.

CANDACE: They took him off to surgery and
I just prayed, let him make it.

We waited for him. I
couldn't even tell you how long it was.

It seemed like it was ages.

QUENTIN: The first thing I
remember when I wake up was

Mom and Dad standing there
and kinda explaining to me what happened.

When they got the barb out, I thought
everything was gonna be good,

I was gonna go back to school, it was
gonna be great, that that was it.

I had no idea what was gonna happen next.


NARRATOR: Back in Churchill, Canada, 69
year-old Bill Ayotte runs out of his house

to save Erin Greene from
the 800lb polar bear mauling her.

His weapon, a snow shovel.

BILL: When I got over there, the bear's
eye was glaring at me.

I could see right away that it was a good

so I hit the bear in the eye with the
shovel and he immediately dropped Erin.


DR CLARK: When Bill came out and hit the
bear with the shovel, Bill became a threat

to that bear, and a threat like that is
about the only thing that could convince

a bear focused on a prey item, and Erin at
this point was a prey item,

to change its focus.

So, what it did was shift from attempting
to prey on Erin to trying to neutralize

Bill as a threat.

At this point, Bill has
knowingly put himself in a situation

where there is total risk to him.

ERIN: Hitting the ground, it was like
another little boost of adrenaline.

I just sort of looked
around really quickly

and I saw this, you know,
rectangular beam of light

that was an open door
and I just ran for it.

I tucked the scalp back on, squeezed it
down, and ran for this open door.

And when I ran, I actually tripped and I
fell almost like in a horror movie

when you see the person, like, running and
they fall

and you're like "argh", you know.

But my legs, I didn't realize that he had
ripped me knee open.

But I managed to scramble into his house.

And I glanced over my shoulder to see if I
could get away from the bear,

and before I could turn around again,

the bear had grabbed me by
the back of the right knee

and held me down and then
the mauling started for me.


ERIN: I immediately called 911 and they
were telling me to calm down

and that was not an option at that point.

So, I hung up on them and then I was like
I need to call bear patrol.

I didn't know what was
happening outside at the time.

BILL: The bear had me on my stomach and he
was jumping up and down on me.

He was pounding on me, biting me all over.

If I would have been on my back, I think
the bear would have caved my chest in

and I think, quite possibly, they wouldn't
have been able to save me.

DR CLARK: So, for the bear,
this is self-preservation.

This is the bear taking care of itself
and its food,

which is what it needs to keep going.

Consuming prey is life
itself, and for a bear like that,

it's gotta keep itself fueled because, if
you don't in that environment,

you're dead in a very short order.

BILL: Then the bear grabbed my ear, right
ear and he tore my right ear off

and I could hear the
tearing sound of my ear,

I realized that he was starting to eat me
and he was going to kill me.


NARRATOR: After doctors
successfully remove a stingray barb

from Quentin Tokar's abdomen,

he returns home to
recover in Pennsylvania.

QUENTIN: I got home, there
was welcome banners,

the whole town had come together.

CANDACE: He wasn't, like, the center of
attention type child or anything,

but the fact that so many people just
loved him and supported him,

you could see on his little face how, you
know, it made him feel.

QUENTIN: I thought I was getting, you
know, better, back to recovery,

and I was so happy to be home.

NEWSCASTER: A 10-year-old Maryland boy
is recovering tonight

after a bizarre accident.

Quentin Tokar says he's
not mad at stingrays and, to prove it,

he has a furry one in his hospital bed.

I was in a lot of the local newspapers,
all over actually.

The Today Show was calling, they
wanted him to come out.

We did take them up on that.

We thought, well, that'll be kinda nice,
he's doing better, things are going good.

Plus, what 10-year-old
wouldn't wanna go and feel those things

after everything they had been through?

The last night we were there, I was
getting kind of sick to my stomach,

feeling nauseous.

CANDACE: It was nerve-racking.

I was like, okay, am I just being

Am I seeing what I'm seeing?

So, we got home and I started to throw up
and getting really sick.

CANDACE: As the days progressed, the ring
of red that went around the wound

itself was getting brighter
and it was spreading

and there was a very distinct smell, like
something rotting.

DR WILCOX: It's almost a week later. He's
got this sort of growing redness.

That is almost definitely
the sign of a bacterial infection,

something that got in
with that barb and has continued to grow

and flourish inside his
body, and it is starting to eat away

at and erode the tissue in his abdomen.

So, that wound is starting to smell
because his tissue is dying.

What you are smelling is literally rotten
and rotting flesh.

NARRATOR: Due to the unusual
nature of Quentin's injury,

doctors advised the
family to seek treatment for the infection

at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

Everything was starting to rot. I felt
like I was about ready to die.

I could feel the infection
in there. I could smell it.

CANDACE: You know, it
was eating his insides.


NARRATOR: After rescuing Erin Greene from
a deadly polar bear attack,

Bill Ayotte is now pinned
and fighting for his life.

The commotion outside was starting to
bring people out into the street

and one of the people was Didier Allen,

and he was shooting towards the bear to
try and scare the bear.

- (gunshots)
- (screams)

ERIN: I could hear gunshots.
I could hear yelling.

I could hear screaming.

So, in the situation, even as things are
getting noisier and busier,

there isn't anything that the bear
considers posing a sufficient threat to it

to stop what it's doing.

You know, it's got prey, it's got a threat
that it's dealing with, everything else,

all the noise and whatever else is going
on, is not serious enough to that bear

in that moment to make
it change its mind about what it's doing.

Well, he expended
all the shells that he had

and he didn't have any more firepower,

so what he actually did
is got into his truck

(engine starting)

and then he drove the truck
towards myself and the bear.


That truck stopped about 2.5ft away from
myself and the bear before

the bear let me go, and
that was the end of the mauling for me.

ERIN: I heard about how
the whole time Bill just kept saying,

"There's a girl. She's badly injured. You
have to find her. Find the girl".

So, he wasn't even really
concerned with himself.

At the point, he was concerned about me.

At this point, this woman comes down from
the second floor down the stairs,

her hair is up in a towel, just come out
of the shower starting her day,

and she comes down to this horror scene,
there's blood everywhere, I'm in there,

you know, bleeding out.

Like, what the heck is going on down here?

- You know, where's Bill?
- Where's Bill?

And all I could say in my brain was,

"Oh, my god, I just got attacked by a

I got attacked by a bear.

Oh, my god. And I must have repeated
that a million times.

- Oh, my god I got attacked.
- And she said,

"Listen, I work at the
hospital", you know, "I can help you,

but we need to see what's
going on back there.

You need to let go of your hand".

So, I let go of my head
and then blood started

to restart squirting out
towards the back wall.

And, in that moment, I realized that I was
still not out of the woods.

There's still potential for me to die.

NARRATOR: A few weeks after having a
stingray barb removed from his abdomen,

Quentin Tokar undergoes another surgery
for a life-threatening bacterial

infection that is ravaging his insides.

CANDACE: He finally had his surgery, and
the doctor came out.

He said, "I had to cut away, you know, a
large portion of his abdomen".

QUENTIN: I woke up, had mom
and dad there by my side,

and they showed it to me and
there was just a big hole.

CANDACE: You know, to see him
so weak and just not OKAY,

this kid was a bubbly, you
know, bright little guy

who now has been through all of these and
still has the best attitude

towards anything, but just
looks so tired and sick.

A big portion of
my stomach was just gone.

It took about a full year before I could
start getting around and doing, you know,

something close to what
I used to do before that.

It was a horrible thing that
happened to my son.

But we were blessed because
we came home with him.

I think it's mostly really important for
the public to understand

that stingrays are not super
dangerous if anything,

just because a human stepped on it or a
human caught it on a fishing line

and was messing with it.

Stingray's first line of
defense is camouflage.

So, if you're entering
the water where there might be a stingray,

it's always best to kinda
shuffle your feet.

But if you do catch them
in a fishing line,

it's best to try to just
cut it and release it.

So, do not be afraid of stingrays, they're
very important for the ocean.

And don't mess with them and pull out the
barbs for no reason.

QUENTIN: I don't mind stingrays.
I've caught plenty since the accident.

Beautiful creatures and you catch 'em and
you release 'em and you let 'em go.

You just don't mess with them.

CANDACE: It wasn't because of the stingray
that that happened.

It absolutely wasn't.
That's its defense mechanism.

QUENTIN: We pulled through and it really
brought the family closer.

I love every
one of my kids, every one of my grandkids,

but there will forever be, I think, a
different type of understanding,

one that's unspoken.
It is different with him.

NARRATOR: After rescuing
Erin Greene from a polar bear attack

and being mauled himself,
Bill Ayotte is airlifted to a hospital

in Winnipeg, unaware of the
fate of the woman he saved.

BILL: When I woke up in
the hospital in Winnipeg,

there was a nurse in the room and I
remember saying to the nurse,

I said, "Was I able to
save that woman's life?"

And the nurse said, "That woman is right
next to you and she's alive".

ERIN: There was this moment where they
opened the curtain

and all the doctors and
all the nurses were there

and I saw Bill for the first time, and,
you know, my God,

what do you say to someone who just risked
their life to save yours?

I-I, I didn't know what to
say and all I could say was "thank you",

and that was the only thing that came out
of my mouth and then they wheeled me away.

So, on my head, because the bear had
ripped my scalp off,

he actually severed three
arteries in my scalp.

That caused me to have three blood
transfusions and, to stitch up my head,

I had 33 stitches and staples on my scalp.
And then I had puncture wounds.

It actually looked like
the jaw of the bear across my chest,

so I had puncture wounds all across here,

and in my shoulders some deep puncture
wounds either from the teeth or the nails.

And then I had scratches across my belly.
I had a big laceration across the kneecap.

And then I think what was the most sort of
visual was the amount of bruising.

I was bruised, I had a black eye, my whole
body was just completely bruised up.

NARRATOR: Though Erin survived the attack,
the polar bear that mauled her did not.

ERIN: The bear that attacked me was shot
four times while it was attacking Bill.

And, although it didn't deter the bear in
the moment because it was so hyped up

on adrenaline, once the bear was scared
off of Bill, it ran down the street.

The bear actually died from its injuries.

One of the bullets punctured its lung and
it was able to run for a certain distance

but then eventually, died
and they found it later on.

NARRATOR: Erin and Bill both
recover from their injuries

and, soon after, return to Churchill, the
polar bear capital of the world,

where both of them live to this day.

ERIN: So, as soon as I was cleared to fly,
I came right back to Churchill.

I came back to the location, you know,
with a group of friends surrounding me.

I started to go on little walks with
friends again, lots of friends.

And I slowly worked my way
into feeling comfortable on the streets

of Churchill again.

Research shows that over and over again
it's young male polar bears

that are dominantly the ones getting into
trouble with people,

and that's exactly the kind of bear that
Erin encountered.

Juvenile male polar bears are basically

teenagers living on their own for the
first time.

They don't know the rules.

They might not care a
whole lot about the rules.

And if there's an opportunity for an easy
meal, they're there.

NARRATOR: 18 months later,
Bill Ayotte receives the Star of Courage,

one of Canada's second-highest
decorations, for his bravery.

BILL: I was very glad that I was able to
save her and, at the same time,

I was glad I wasn't dead.

I was glad I wasn't dead.
So, it turned out well.

ERIN: If it wasn't for
Bill, I would not be here.

I can't even describe the emotion that I
have, you know, for Bill.

Like, I had heard about people running
into buildings to save lives or,

all the, you know, you hear these stories
about people saving other people

and not thinking about themselves or their
own life,

and I thought that was a little bit of a
fairytale before it happened to me.

We didn't know each other before.
We had no relationship before.

I was just another human

and he just came at the
bear with a shovel,

69-year-old man,
and went in there to save this girl.

It's, it's incredible.