(TMU) — A nine-year-old girl from Florida was hospitalized after a massive bull bison unexpectedly charged her on Monday at Yellowstone National Park.
The girl, who remains unidentified, was tossed high into the air after the gigantic animal charged a group of people visiting the Old Faithful Geyser area of the national park in Wyoming, according to the National Park Service.
She and a group of around 50 to 60 people were standing within five to 10 feet of the huge creature for about 20 minutes, eventually “causing the bison to charge” before catapulting the girl into the air, the park service said.
The dramatic scene was captured on video by 18-year-old Hailey Dayton in footage that has now gone viral.
Dayton, who was visiting with the park while on a family vacation, told NBC News:
“My brother and I were looking at the hot springs, and we saw a bunch of people running down the path to the bridge. We saw through the trees some people petting the bison, super close.”
Dayton had been filming the bison ambling about the field and grazing while tourists can be seen walking in the background. All of a sudden, the animal begins to charge toward the group of people. As two adults escape amid flying dust and people screaming, the bison catches up to the girl before lifting her high into the air.
I visited Yellowstone 2 years ago, there are signs everywhere reading “Do not approach wildlife” but since people don’t read signs…..
Video Courtesy: Hailey Dayton pic.twitter.com/ZC6TiVyqx8
— Stanley Roberts (@StanleyRoberts) July 24, 2019
“Because it was agitated by all the people and noise, it just kind of attacked.
After that, everyone was screaming. There were a bunch of kids crying.”
The girl, who is from Odessa, FL, was thankfully not seriously injured. The park statement noted:
“The girl was taken to the Old Faithful Lodge by her family where she was assessed and treated by a park emergency medical providers, and later taken to and released from the Old Faithful Clinic.”
In addition to being home to such wild animals as bison, bears, bald eagles, and wolves, Yellowstone attracts over two million tourists every summer, with July being the peak month of tourism season.
— YellowstoneNPS (@YellowstoneNPS) July 23, 2019
Around 4,500 bison roam through the national park, which is the only place where the creatures have lived in an uninterrupted manner since prehistoric times, according to the park.
Bison can weigh anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds, and are able to run 30 miles per hour. Bison have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal has, due to their aggressive and unpredictable nature.
In 2015, a woman suffered injuries after attempting to snap a selfie with a bison. And just last year, park authorities arrested a man who was caught on video teasing and lunging at a bison on a paved road. Separately that year, a woman was gored by a bison when a crowd gathered around the huge creature.
The parks service reminds visitors that when they encounter animals such as bison, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, elk, and coyotes, visitors should stay 25 yards away.
As the National Park Service said in their statement:
“Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild … When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space.”