Five elderly female cyclists battle 75-pound cougar to save friend

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This image shows the cougar pinned down by the cyclists. — New York Post via Keri Bergere
This image shows the cougar pinned down by the cyclists. — New York Post via Keri Bergere

A group of elderly cyclists miraculously saved their friend from a cougar attack after battling with the mountain cat for 45 minutes last month, the New York Post reported.

Five female cyclists, in their 50s and 60s, were on a team ride on a trail northeast of Fall City in Washington last month when a cougar launched at one of them and clamped down on her face

In a recent interview, the members of the competitive Recycled Cycles Racing team recalled their harrowing struggle to fight the beast off their friend using just rocks, sticks and their own hands.

"I thought my teeth were coming loose, and I was gonna swallow my teeth," Keri Bergere, 60, the cyclist who was attacked told KUOW in an interview. "I could feel the bones crushing, and I could feel it tearing back."

"I felt like it was suffocating me," she added. "I could taste the blood in my mouth."

While Bergere's friends tried to get the male cougar to loosen its grip on her using sticks and rocks, one of them stabbed the cat with a small knife.

Another cyclist, Annie Bilotta, 64, attempted to choke the vicious creature. Finally, after 15 minutes, the animal let up and Bergere was able to crawl away.

Tisch Williams, 59, then grabbed the 51-year-old Erica Wolf's $6,000 bike and the group used it to pin down the one-year-old cougar.

After 30 minutes, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police officer arrived and shot the creature between the shoulder blades.

Bergere, was hospitalised in stable condition, but had noticeable facial injuries.

Keri Bergere, 60, was left with noticeable facial injuries after the cougar attack. — New York Post via King5
Keri Bergere, 60, was left with noticeable facial injuries after the cougar attack. — New York Post via King5

"They’re teeny ladies, and I know that the Fish and Wildlife shot the final shot to kill it. But these ladies killed that cougar with their bare hands and no weapons," she also said. "I'm eternally grateful to each one of them."

The cougar weighed roughly 75 pounds, state Fish and Wildlife officials said, adding that he didn’t have any significant diseases or issues that would lead to aggressive behaviour.