08/29/2012 10:29 am ET Updated Aug 30, 2012

Julia Stafford, Seattle College Student, Survives Alaska Grizzly Bear Attack

A Seattle college student survived a grizzly bear attack in Alaska on Sunday, King 5 reports.

Julia Stafford, 20, a University of British Columbia student, was in a foggy ravine with a co-worker, looking for soil and rock samples for a Canadian mining company near Tangle Lakes early Sunday afternoon, when the bear and its two cubs suddenly appeared.

The pair tried to walk away but the grizzly followed, charging at them before she could take a can of bear spray from her pack. Once the bear knocked them down, Stafford and her co-worker played dead, the Seattle Times reports. The animal then focused its attention only on Stafford and dragged her 20 feet. Yet -- miraculously -- she got away with only minor injuries.

Speaking from her hospital bed in Fairbanks, Stafford -- holding a teddy bear of all things -- told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, "It bit my hand and kind of dragged me 20 feet over the rocks and just left me." She said she fleetingly thought she was going to die "but it was fine once she let me go and ran away ... It happened really quick."

Stafford came away with bite cuts on her right hand, which was broken and will need surgery. She also got stitches on her back.

It could have been far worse. Just two days later, a less lucky hiker became the first person killed by a bear in Denali National Park since it was created in 1917.