A New York woman is lucky to be alive after she spent 10 minutes fending off a coyote by herself while vacationing in Cape Cod.
Marcy Sterlis escaped the incident on Race Point Beach uninjured Thursday, all thanks to two kind strangers, but told Fox affiliate WFXT that she's still traumatized by the dramatic ordeal.
"My voice is still really hoarse from screaming so much this morning," she explained to the outlet. "I was so scared."
Sterlis, who works as an assistant principal in New York City, said she went on a solo hike at the popular Massachusetts beach destination in the morning, WFXT reported.
It was just before noon when she noticed that a coyote had appeared on the sand, according to the outlet.
"I sat down to put my sneakers back on and as I was getting up, I look over and this coyote was four or five feet from me," Sterlis recalled to WFXT.
Luckily, Sterlis told the outlet she knew that coyotes often frequent the Cape because she sees their footprints everywhere, so she started carrying a stick with her last year — and it certainly came in handy on Thursday.
"I just got up and I started screaming and pushing at him with the stick," Sterlis explained to independent Boston station, WHDH. "I was in a battle with this coyote for about 10 minutes... That coyote was not giving up."
"It was a little too curious because it wasn't responding to my screams to get away from me or shaking at the stick," she added to WFXT, noting that the wild animal was at one point about a foot away from her.
"It just kept coming at me and I could not get it [to stop]," she explained to the outlet. "I was screaming at it. The only thing that did work was when I lunged."
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As Sterlis attempted to escape the coyote and call 911 for help, fisherman Andrew DeCarton and boat captain William Kelley heard her cries from their boat on the water, WFXT reported.
Though several boaters had also heard Sterlis yelling, almost all passed her by, believing that her stick was a fishing pole and the coyote was her dog, according to the outlet.
"As I took my binoculars out, I said, 'That's not a dog,'" DeCarton recalled to WFXT.
Added Kelley: "[Sterlis was yelling] 'Stay away from me! Get away from me! Help!'"
DeCarton began recording the incident while the pair pulled into shore to rescue Sterlis, according to WFXT.
"I told Andrew, 'We need to get her on the boat,'" Kelley explained to WFXT. "I pulled up close enough, started banging my oar on the side of the boat. That's when he started to run away."
Added DeCarton to WHDH: "The captain took one of our oars and started slapping it on the side of the boat. The noise really seemed to kind of deter him. You could tell that this animal was very hungry and very persistent."
Following the heroic rescue, DeCarton and Kelley took Sterlis back to her car before she stopped at the off-road vehicle office to alert them of the incident, according to WFXT.
"The office was open and I went in there and told the guy what happened, and I said, 'Let me show you the video,'" Sterlis recalled. "It was the first time I watched it since it happened [and] I just broke down in tears."
And while the incident certainly was terrifying, Sterlis told WFXT that it won't deter her from returning to the beach.
"Of course [I'd go back to the area], because I love the National Seashore," she said. "In fact, after I left Race Point today, I ended up going over to the Head of the Meadow Beach to chill out and decompress."