911 caller: My child attacked by mountain lion, prepare the ER
The 5-year-old boy is recovering from deep but not life-threatening wounds to his head, face and neck
DENVER — As he raced to the hospital with his injured son in his car, a Colorado father called 911 to let emergency room staff know to prepare for something unusual.
"I am driving from Lower River Road to (the) emergency room. My 5-year-old has got attacked by (a) mountain lion," Val Loboda told the dispatcher, speaking quickly but calmly.
The Pitkin County Sheriff's office released the recording of the 911 call days after Friday's attack outside Loboda's home in a low-rise block of apartments squeezed between a major road and a river on a mountainside about 10 miles northwest of Aspen. The sheriff's office released its report Wednesday, identifying the family for the first time.
Yuri Loboda and his older brother were playing outside when the mountain lion attacked. Alerted by her older son, Anastasia Yukhtenko ran outside, snatched Yuri's head from the cat's jaws. She scooped up the child and ran with him. Loboda then returned from his run and set out with his family for the hospital. In a series of brief 911 calls that were repeatedly cut off, Loboda said he "just wanted to give you a heads up to get ready."
Neither Loboda nor Yukhtenko immediately responded to calls from The Associated Press on Wednesday requesting comment. Earlier this week, they released a statement through a Denver hospital where Yuri was taken with deep but not life-threatening cuts to his head, face and neck after initial treatment in Aspen. They said then that he was improving and they requested privacy.
A Pitkin County sheriff's officer had praised Yukhtenko as a hero. She suffered scratches and bites.
Mountain lions rarely attack humans.
Wildlife officials killed two mountain lions in the area after the attack, saying both were young animals that may have suffered the early loss of an adult cat that could have taught them to avoid humans.
On Monday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said results from a necropsy and DNA tests confirmed that one of the mountain lions killed was involved in the attack.
"These two cats were traveling together and learning to hunt and survive together, and one of them attacked a child," said Ron Velarde, a regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "We are not going to take chances in a situation like this. It is the right decision."
Neither of the mountain lions tested positive for rabies or the plague.