A man survived being mauled by a massive 6ft-tall bear by punching it in the face.
Twenty-six-year-old Andi Bauer and his girlfriend Lara Booth, 23, were hiking in Romania when they came face-to-face with an angry female bear and her two cubs.
The protective mother lashed out at Andi, wrapping its huge jaws around his right leg and lashing him around.
Andi Bauer and his girlfriend Lara Booth were hiking in Romania. Credit: SWNS
Lara, who was around 20ft behind her partner, called out to Andi to 'punch it in the eye', which he did.
Amazingly, the punch was enough to send the bear fleeing and Andi was left trying to stem the flow of blood from his leg using a sock, while Lara had to leave to go and find a spot with mobile signal so she could call for help.
Andi, from Germany, said: "I was in a state of shock, so I don't remember the pain anymore.
"But this momma bear was suddenly a metre away from me. It was so loud. I had my side turned away from it, so when I saw it bounding towards me, I just didn't have time to think about what to do.
His leg was left shattered in three places and bleeding heavily. Credit: SWNS
"It bit my leg, held on to it, and dragged me and threw me about. I was crying out for help, but there wasn't anything that anyone could do.
"The bear let go of me, and after Lara told me to punch it in the face, I hit it. It then went away.
"I suppose I'm lucky I got through it. But I'd have been luckier not being attacked."
Lara from Cambridge added: "I was frozen with fear when we first saw the bears.
"I was probably useless - I was screaming at Andi the whole time. Keeping calm during an attack like that is hard. I did so as best I could.
"Then I remembered that you're supposed to punch a bear in the eye, so I yelled that, and the bear turned around and left him.
"Andi's so luck to be alive."
Quick-thinking Andi stemmed the blood flow using one of his socks. Credit: SWNS
The pair where hiking through the Carpathian Mountains in southern Romania in May when the attack took place.
Lara says they were warned by local priests not to climb the mountains, but they decided to go ahead with it anyway and set off with just a tent and their sleeping bags.
The couple say on their first day they saw a snake, lizard, and six wild boar - and Andi joked: "The next thing we'll see is a bear."
And he was right; just three hours into their second day of trekking the pair came across a mauled deer and then the three bears - one of which attacked Andi.
The attack shattered his bone in three places, and torn a chunk out of his calf, so quick-thinking Andi used his socks as a tourniquet.
Lara was eventually able to get a phone signal and called for help. A helicopter arrived and Andi was rushed to a Romanian hospital for treatment.
He has since been transferred to a hospital in Germany, nearer where he and Lara live.
Lara was able to raise the alarm and a helicopter came to their rescue. Credit: SWNS
She said: "This was supposed to be a hard but pleasant hike through the Romanian mountains.
"I'd read up about bears and panthers, but Andi had persuaded me not to bring a bear spray because he thought it'd be more likely that it would explode.
"I'd had a bad feeling deep down the whole time.
"Leaving him on the mountains on his own was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. To keep him safe, I told him to keep speaking loudly to scare other animals off.
"And the whole time I looked for help, another thunderstorm was gathering. It was a race against the clock at that point. But we won that one.
Andi is still in hospital getting treatment for his injuries. Credit: SWNS
"He's doing as best he can now, and is being treated properly in Germany."
Andi added: "I was always feeling optimistic that I would survive the attack.
"In fact, the greater risk was the helicopter not being able to fly through the mountains.
"The chances of being attack by a bear like that are slim anyway - you're more likely for the bear spray to explode than be attacked."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS