Boca boy returns home after bear attack

By John Bachman

Posted by Rachel Leigh

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A south county boy, attacked by a bear while on vacation with his father in Tennessee, has returned home.

When 8-year-old Evan Pala starts school next week, he'll no doubt have the best story to tell his classmates, and he has the scars to back it up.

With a big hug from grandma, and a plenty of curious looks from friends and cousins, the bear attack survivor gets a rousing welcome Thursday night at the airport.

"I came up the hill, and the bear was starring at me and jumped on me", says Evan, describing the attack.

Evan, his older brother, Alex, and their dad, John, were hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. They heard someone spotted a bear on a nearby trail.

Alex and John wanted to check it out. Evan says he warned his brother and dad against it, but they went anyway. And before they knew it, the black bear grabbed on to Evan's back.

"That's where he had him in his mouth. He was taking him away; he was carrying him away," said John Pala while showing his son's wounds.

John pulled the bear off of his son. And 10-year-old Alex says he didn't want to let the bear get another chance to attack.

"I started throwing sticks and stones trying to scare it off, so it doesn't get Evan a second or third time, trying to keep it away from him as long as I can so he can get away", says Alex Pala.

Evan did get away with his life. He also came away from the attack with staples in his head and bite marks on his back and arm.

As you can imagine, his mother, Kelly Pala, is relieved to have her boy back home. And, from now on, she's going to protect Evan like a bear would protect her own cub. "It will be a little while before I can let them do anything remotely adult - Chucky Cheese maybe."

Alex and Evan say they hope to get the T-shirt Evan was wearing during the attack back. It's his favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt. It's now bloody and torn, but, Alex says, he wants to wear the shirt for Halloween.