Harrowing grizzly bear attack prompts rescue operation on Alaska trail

Harrowing grizzly bear attack prompts rescue operation on Alaska trail

Outdoors

Harrowing grizzly bear attack prompts rescue operation on Alaska trail

Three hikers are fortunate to have escaped serious injuries – thanks largely to the use of bear spray – after being attacked by a grizzly bear on a popular trail near Cordova, Alaska.

The harrowing June 9 encounter, described Thursday by the Cordova Times, began with the charging bear trampling trees and bushes to reach the hikers on the Ridge Trail.

One hiker was knocked to the ground by the angry sow, which was trailed by a lone cub. Another hiker suffered injuries trying to find cover.

Grizzly bear image is courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Alicia King, a public affairs officer with the Chugach National Forest, said the momma bear was “exhibiting stress behavior and voçalizations, and immediately charged the group.”

The hikers were spared serious injuries largely because they used bear spray to thwart a more serious attack. The bear fled without biting or scratching any of the hikers.

“It was because of bear spray that they’re still around,” Robin Morrisett, Alaska Wildlife Trooper Sgt., told the Cordova Times.

Grizzly bear image is courtesy of the U.S. Fish and wildlife Service

The hiker who was knocked to the ground acted appropriately by curling into a fetal position. The hikers also were wise to telephone for help, rather than try to hike out, whereupon they might have been stalked by the bear.

They were quickly located during a search-and-rescue operation, and airlifted to safety via helicopter. The unidentified hikers were treated for various injuries at the Cordova Community Medical Center.

Area residents remain on alert, since there have been other black bear and grizzly bear sightings, and hikers are urged to carry bear spray on walks of any length in there wilderness.

–Grizzly bear images are courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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