Wilderness Guides Mauled by Bear
August 20, 2016
The Coast Guard was able to locate and transport the two victims to Sitka for medical treatment. Follow up interviews by Alaska Wildlife Troopers revealed that the two victims were conducting a guided nature hike for several tourists when they were confronted by a sow and cub brown bear and ultimately mauled.
One of the victims did deploy pepper spray and the bears eventually departed the area. One victim was treated and released while the second victim was held with more serious injuries.
Forest Service law enforcement officers and state wildlife troopers have determined the attack was a defensive, non-predatory move by the bear.
“This case is a reminder of the constant dangers of the Alaska wilderness,” said Scott Giard, Lead Command Center Controller at Sector Juneau. “The close coordination with the Wilderness Explorer and our dedication to training in harsh environments allowed our crew to quickly medically evacuate the two to safety."
A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk crew medevaced one male and one female after a bear mauled the two while hiking on the Sitkoh Creek Trail. The aircrew hoisted the man and woman and transferred them to local emergency medical personnel in Sitka.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center were notified at 12:48 p.m. on channel 16 by the cruise vessel Wilderness Explorer that two of its passengers (wilderness guides) were mauled by a bear. Paramedics on scene evaluated the two as needing medical evacuation. Both sustained multiple injuries and severe lacerations.
KIRO7 in Seattle reported that Un-Cruise director of communications Sarah Scoltock said said all crew goes through wilderness training and bear safety training, including how to avoid bear encounters. Expedition guides carry bear spray on all excursions off the ship, Scoltock said. This is the first time in the company’s 20-year history that an attack has happened while guests were on an excursion reports KIRO7.
The female guide was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she is listed in serious condition and in intensive care, reports KIRO7.
The names of the guides have not been released. Wilderness Explorer is operated by Un-Cruise Adventures.
The weather on scene at the time of the medevac was reported as 23-mph winds and approximately seven miles of visibility.
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Reporting & Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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