When he first saw it floating on the lake, he thought it would be a log. But it wasn’t: it was something that he had never encountered before in any of his fishing escapades.
Now he had it on his boat, and his thoughts were racing, wondering what was he going to do now. He was in a dangerous situation; but after thinking for a while, he knew there was only one thing he could do.
This story took place at Raystown Lake, in Pennsylvania’s Huntingdon County. Its protagonist is Brad Meck, a fisherman from the nearby town of Everett.
He had spent countless evenings sailing and fishing on that lake, and he would usually go there when he wanted to relax and clear up his mind for a while. But on this occasion, the evening would be everything but relaxing for him.
Brad knew that lake was like the palm of his hand; the reason why he went over there so often was that he knew it would seldom have any surprises for him.
He liked the calm and quietness, which were only interrupted every now and then by the catch of some fish that had bit his bait. But that day would be different.
Up until then, that day was going just like every other day he would spend at the lake. He didn’t expect anything unusual to happen. He would just chill at his boat for a while, maybe catch some fish, maybe not, and then come back home.
That’s when he noticed something strange floating across the lake. He squinted his eyes, trying to get a clearer picture of what it was.
It looked like a log. But it seemed to be moving. What could it be? Brad’s boat kept getting closer and closer to the object, and the thing seemed to be moving towards the boat too.
When he had a chance to look at what he thought was a log from closer, he noticed something. Something that ruled out the possibility of it being just a log.
That strange floating thing seemed to have fur on it! So it was probably an animal. Brad had never seen anything other than fish swimming around in that lake, so he wondered what it could be.
Maybe it was an otter? He had never seen one of those in the lake and not even in the surrounding area. So his mind kept racing through the possibilities.
Just a few days later, Brad would have the chance to tell ABC News about the incident, and this is how he recalled it:
“I saw it coming towards me; I thought it was just a beaver or something like that.” But he was in for a surprise. What he thought was just a member of the indigenous aquatic wildlife would turn out to be something completely different.
At that point, Brad was determined to not only find out what that floating thing or animal was, but also to take it out of the water and examine it closer.
So he couldn’t contain his excitement as the distance between his boat and the thing shortened. And when he finally had the chance to see what it was, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
“It got closer, and I looked at it and thought, ‘Holy cow!'”, he narrated to the press days later. Before, he had some doubts about whether he should take it out of the water. But now, he knew he had to do it.
So he dipped his hands in the water, grabbed the furry thing, and placed it on his boat, while he wondered how it even got into the lake in the first place and what he could do about it now.
It was a brown bear cub! The poor thing was in trouble; he could only see it because it kept its snout raised above the waterline.
It had swum towards Brad’s boat, almost as if it was asking for help. God only knew how long it had been swimming or why did it even get into the lake in the first place.
When he first grabbed it, Brad was a bit scared that the cub might react in a hostile way. “Just as I was about ready to grab it, I thought to myself, ‘Please don’t bite me.'”
But the bear baby was as friendly as it could be; it was in trouble, and it appreciated that Brad had stopped by to rescue it. “It was as calm as can be. It didn’t show any hostility towards me.” But aside from that, there was another possible danger.
Had the cub’s mom been near and witnessed the whole scene, Brad might have found himself in serious trouble.
Female bears are known to be very protective of their offspring and aggressive towards anything they perceive as a threat. But luckily for Brad, they seemed to be alone in the lake. At least for now.
But now, there was only one thing on Brad’s mind, and that was what he could do to help the little baby bear. He looked around; maybe its mom would be somewhere near.
But there seemed to be no trace of life around the lake. It was only him and the tiny cub. So he wondered what he could do now to ensure that the little animal would be safe and sound.
“I saw the direction it was swimming in, and I kind of figured maybe the mom swam across first,” Meck said. “And because the baby was so little, it was struggling. I just figured she’d be up on the bank somewhere.”
So he decided to sail through the lake towards the woods and leave the baby cub there, hoping that it would eventually find its mom.
And that’s what he did. And as he released the baby bear on land, it looked back at him one last time before disappearing into the woods as if it was thanking him for his help.
“The cub was going to drown if I didn’t help it,” Meck told ABC News. “I never thought anything else other than getting it and helping it and taking it to shore. Hopefully, the cub and its mom can get reunited again.”