An American scoutmaster is recovering after being mauled by a black bear which dragged him into its cave.

Christopher Petronino, 50, told authorities he hit the animal with a hammer and played dead before summoning help.

The bear grabbed the New Jersey man on Sunday as he was showing his son and two other scouts, ages 12 to 14, a cave that he regularly visits at Split Rock Reservoir in Kinnelon, west of New York City.

Mr Petronino entered the cave, which he thought was empty, when the bear grabbed his foot and pulled him further inside, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Bob Considine said.

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