Debra Nicholls helped to rescue Anne M. Hjelle from an attacking mountain lion, Lake Forest, California, January 8, 2004. Ms. Hjelle, 30, was riding her bicycle in a county park when a 122-pound mountain lion jumped on her back from the brush adjoining the trail. The lion took her to the ground, her neck in its jaws. Ms. Nicholls, 48, mountain bike racer, was riding with Ms. Hjelle and came upon the scene within moments. She immediately got off her bicycle and threw it at the lion, then she grasped Ms. Hjelle by the leg as the lion pulled her from the trail into the brush. The lion dragged Ms. Hjelle to a point about 30 feet from the trail, Ms. Nicholls continuing to provide resistance. Alerted by the women’s screams, other bicyclists responded and threw rocks at the lion. It released its grip on Ms. Hjelle and retreated. Ms. Nicholls and others carried Ms. Hjelle back to the trail, from which she was evacuated to a hospital. Detained there eight days, she required treatment, including surgery, for severe bite wounds to her neck and face. Ms. Nicholls sustained scratches to her legs from the brush, and she recovered.
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