Arizona Woman Gored By Bison At Yellowstone National Park Suffers 7 Spinal Fractures, But Got Engaged At The Hospital

Yellowstone bison
Amber Harris

Love is undefeated.

This proposal definitely didn’t go as originally planned, but it still happened, which is all that really matters.

Amber Harris and Chris Whitehill traveled to Yellowstone National Park this last week, and love was in the air. Chris had laid out a romantic engagement proposal that was supposed to catch Amber by surprise, but instead, they were both caught off guard when Amber was attacked and gored by a bison.

Yellowstone National Park even posted about the incident shortly after it occurred, with it being the first bison goring at the park this year:

“A 47-year-old female from Phoenix, Arizona, was gored by a bison near the Lake Lodge Cabins on the north shore of Lake Yellowstone the morning of July 17.

Always stay more than 25 yards (23 m) away from bison.”

Amber Harris was seriously injured in the attack that happened near Lake Yellowstone, and even had to be transported by helicopter to the nearby Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. As to how the incident went down, the couple, along with Harris’ daughter, were enjoying a morning cup of coffee when they noticed two bison hanging around nearby.

According to the couple, the horned beasts were about 50 yards away from them, so they didn’t think too much about it at first. However, one of the bison then abruptly dropped down to the ground, rolled in the dirt, and then began sprinting towards them.

Chris Whitehill told the TODAY show:

“We just kept moving away, moving away. I told Amber, ‘Do not run.'”

And Amber didn’t run, yet that didn’t stop the bison from charging her and launching a full on attack. Whitehill continued in the interview with NBC:

“He struck her head-on and she was airborne. I think she did one or two backflips in the air, and I was screaming and yelling trying to distract him. She landed pretty hard on her back.” 

Once the bison left Amber alone, Chris sprang into action and called the authorities.

Health officials reported to the scene as quickly as they could, and Amber described the experience and the injuries she sustained in a Facebook post:

“I was carried out of the field on a stretcher to an ambulance and then transferred to a helicopter for a life flight to Idaho. Pain meds, CT, MRI and I sustained 7 spine fractures, bilateral collapsed lungs and bruising all over. Glory to God all my vital organs look good.”

Clearly both Chris and Amber were relieved that though she sustained serious injuries, they knew that she would be able to make a full recovery. However, in the back of Chris’ mind the whole time was the proposal that was supposed to happen, which clearly had taken a backseat to Amber’s health and well being.

The man had the location and everything picked out within Yellowstone National Park, but as most of us all know, life doesn’t always go according to plan. Once Amber was in a more comfortable position in the hospital, Chris decided that he didn’t want to push off the engagement any longer.

Amber went on to describe how the improvised proposal went down, saying:

“Chris had planned a beautiful marriage proposal this week on a natural bridge but all three of us have been in the hospital since yesterday morning and I won’t be able to leave any time soon.

So my love got down on one knee beside my hospital bed last night and formally asked me to be his wife. Without any hesitation I said yes!”

What a whirlwind week for Amber Harris and Chris Whitehill, to say the least, and how about the power of love?

Congratulations to them though! It might not have gone down as Whitehill originally planned it to, but still very memorable nonetheless. Amber entered into the hospital a girlfriend, and will leave the building as an engaged woman and a bison attack survivor.

Here’s to wishing a quick and healthy recovery for Amber, and a happy engagement to the couple. Not a bad rock that she got from Chris either…

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock