State police: Missing Webb teen was hiding from bear in tree overnight

A teen who was reported missing in the town of Webb Tuesday evening, says she was stuck in a tree overnight, after encountering a bear while out for a run.

Posted: Aug 19, 2020 6:54 AM
Updated: Aug 19, 2020 6:27 PM

TOWN OF WEBB, N.Y. (UPDATED) – A teen who was reported missing in the town of Webb Tuesday evening, says she was stuck in a tree overnight, after encountering a bear while out for a run.

Rachel Smith, 19, told police she came across some bear cubs while running on a trail in the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness Area. According to Smith, the mama bear came in between her and the cubs.

Smith tried to run, but knowing she wouldn't be able to outrun the bear, she climbed a tree to wait for it to go away. She said the bear did not leave until after dark.

According to state police, Smith did not have her cell phone with her. She did have a Garmin, but said by the time she got down from the tree, the battery had died.

At daybreak, Smith came down from the tree, found her way back to a trail, where she found someone she knows who was searching for her, and gave her a ride home. She was then able to call police and tell them what happened. Old Forge Ambulance also responded. 

Police say about 400 people came out to join the search party Tuesday evening, many spending the entire night looking for Smith.

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