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Victim of June bear attack in Great Smoky Mountains reunites with her rescuers

A bear attacked 16-year-old Timnah Roberts in June in a backcountry campground inside of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When 16-year-old Timnah Roberts and her family got to their backcountry campsite in June, rangers said they did everything right. They hung up their food, stayed at a campsite and didn't antagonize any bears. 

However, around midnight, a bear attacked Timnah. 

"My wife and I woke up to Timnah screaming," said Brent Roberts, Timnah's dad. "We attempted to scare it, got big and screamed at the bear."

Roberts said Timnah had injuries on her head and hand. Rangers got a 911 call from dispatch and headed towards the campsite. 

Park Rangers said it took them 2 hours of driving and another 2 hours hiking to get to the campsite. Once they arrived, they decided to take Timnah to the hhspital on a MEDEVAC.

They put a request into the Tennessee Army National Guard medical flight unit, who responded quickly. 

Between 7 and 8 a.m., paramedics airlifted Timnah to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. 

"[I asked her] would you like any pain medicine? She looks at you and said, 'No, I took a Motrin at midnight.' Mind you, this is like 7:30 or 8 o'clock in the morning," said SFC Tracy Allen Banta.  "That right there tells you that kid's full of a lot of vinegar."

The Army National Guard members said it was exciting for them to see Timnah again, especially since she's doing so well. 

"After we drop them off ... we never hear from them," said SFC Banta. "It's a thankless job, but we do appreciate this thanks." 

Timnah's family said she spent one night in the hospital and is fully recovered.

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