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Teen Left Close to Death After Bison Throws Her 15 Feet Into the Air Severing Her Femoral Artery

People logo People 8/4/2022 Charmaine Patterson

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A woman who was thrown 15 feet into the air while being attacked by a bison is a living "miracle," she says.

Amelia "Mia" Dean, 19, and a friend, along with her friend's dog, were on day two of a month-long cross-country road trip, and at the end of a hike along a Custer State Park trail in South Dakota, when they came face-to-face with a bison.

"They came over a hill and saw down in the dip, quite a way ahead of them, they saw a big, male bison," her father Matthew Dean told ABC and Fox affiliate Dakota News Now. While Mia and her friend thought about turning around to avoid it, they decided against it since they were nearly out of supplies after hiking for almost two hours.

"I was really dehydrated, it was really sunny, and we'd both given our water to the dog like an hour ago," Mia, who is from the UK, recalled to the outlet.

So, she and her friend made their way around the animal when "suddenly the bison looked up. They were over 100 yards away and the bison just ran down the hill at her. It came right up and stopped in front of her and then apparently, they had a bit of eye contact for a few seconds," Mia's mother Jacqueline Dean shared with Dakota News Now.

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Mia, who has been in the hospital for seven weeks, said she and the buffalo were so close "I could have put my hand out on his forehead without properly stretching it out completely fine."

The bison then made its move, its horn piercing all the way through Mia's thigh. It "tossed her in the air," Jacqueline said, with Matthew adding, "We're told about 10 to 15 feet."

Mia continued to detail her near-death experience and said, "I remember feeling the pressure on my hip. My hip being pushed back and I remember the sensation of flying in the air and going head over heels."

Added Mia: "The bison stuck around and his hooves were right over my head. I remember them being like right by my head."

Her friend managed to get the buffalo to leave before calling for help.

The family shared on a GoFundMe page that Mia sustained a "completely severed femoral artery."

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"We are beyond fortunate that our daughter is still breathing, as she should have bled out in 2-8 minutes after the severed artery and the ambulance didn't arrive for 20 minutes. It is a miracle that she is alive today," they said.

Mia agreed and told Dakota News Now "it's a miracle" she lived until the ambulance arrived "let alone" when she arrived at Monument Health in Rapid City, South Dakota.

In addition to her femoral artery, the bison's horn also caused damage to both her tibial and peroneal nerves which has left her paralyzed from the knee down in one of her legs.

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Mia now has another battle to fight as she tries to afford the care she'll need to fully recover.

This is why her parents have launched the GoFundMe campaign to try to raise money for Mia to undergo testing and surgery at the Mayo Clinic to deal with the complex nature of her nerve damage, telling Dakota News Now, "I really believe that God's got a purpose for her and I know that sounds cheesy, but I believe God's got a plan and purpose for her because it wasn't her time to die."

In their GoFundMe, Amelia's parents say that her travel insurance will not pay for her transfer, amid her very complicated injury.

Sharing more about their daughter's life and her love for dancing, they wrote that she planned to go to Edinburgh University this fall following a gap year to travel the world.

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"We have no idea why this happened to our little girl, and simply wish for her to be able to walk and dance again and live her life to the full, without chronic long-term pain," they wrote, ending with a faith-filled song.

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