Young girl has lucky escape at Yellowstone after bison tosses her several feet in the air

Bison charging
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A nine-year-old girl was lucky to escape without serious injuries after being thrown several feet in the air by a bison at Yellowstone National Park. The incident took place in 2009, but has re-entered headlines this week after a video was featured on Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks, which calls out careless behavior at sites of natural beauty around the world.

The incident took place at the Upper Geyser Basin in the southwest of the park, which is home to Yellowstone's most famous geyser, Old Faithful. The video was recorded by 18-year-old Hailey Dayton, who told NBC News that she had seen people running downhill towards the bison, and even petting it.

"Because it was agitated by all the people and noise, it just kind of attacked," Dayton said. "After that, everyone was screaming. There were a bunch of kids crying."

The young girl was assessed and treated by park officials at the scene, then taken to the Old Faithful Clinic, where she was later released.

Stay safe around bison

Most of Yellowstone is currently closed to everything but snowmobiles and snow coaches. The roads will reopen for the summer season in April, with visitor facilities returning on a staggered schedule.

The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors to always stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) from bison, and to take particular care during the spring when females (cows) are protecting their calves, and during the rut in the late summer when males are more aggressive than usual as they compete for dominance and the right to mate.

Although they may seem docile, bison are unpredictable, and are responsible for more injuries at Yellowstone than any other animal, including bears, wolves, and snakes. Last summer, two people were hospitalized within the space of a week after being gored by bison at US National Parks,

For advice on how to stay out of harm's way, take a look at our guides how to avoid being gored by a bison and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.