Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

West

Alaska woman called heroic after surviving bear attack while jogging

  • Alaska Bear Attack_Cham640.jpg

    May 19, 2014: Mark Sledge, the senior Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson conservation law enforcement officer, is shown during a news conference at the base in Anchorage, Alaska. Sledge spoke a day after a woman was attacked by a brown bear with two cubs in tow on the base. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

  • Largest Land Carnivore

    FILE: An Alaskan Brown Bear from Kodiak Island in southern Alaska, looks back as she walks away with two fishes in her mouth during feeding time at Sydney's Taronga Zoo. (Reuters)

Bloodied and dazed after being slashed by the claws of a brown bear, a woman struggled to walk 2 miles along a curvy, hilly trail to find someone to help her.

The woman, who has asked that her identity not be released, was hospitalized in stable condition Monday, a day after the attack on an Anchorage military base, officials said. She suffered lacerations to her neck, arms and legs.

The woman was jogging with her soldier husband Sunday morning on the northwestern part of the sprawling Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The couple became separated, and as she jogged down a hill near a bend, she came upon a bear leaving a trail at the same time.

Air Force Maj. Angela Webb said they startled each other, and the bear, with two cubs in tow, assumed a defensive position in the largely wooded, remote area.

"The bear attacked her, defending her babies, seeing her as a threat," said Mark Sledge, senior conservation law enforcement officer at the base.

The bear knocked down the woman and took at least one swipe at her. Officials still haven't interviewed the woman and don't know if she was knocked unconscious or played dead until the animal left the area. Playing dead is the appropriate response when meeting a female bear protecting cubs, Sledge said.

Authorities don't know how long she lay there after the attack. At some point, the blood-covered woman was able to start up the rough terrain for the road, about 2 miles away.

"The survival instinct for that woman is phenomenal," Sledge said. "The trauma that she went through and the walk out was heroic."

A soldier driving in the area saw the woman and rushed her to the base hospital. From there, she was transferred to the Alaska Native Medical Center.

Meanwhile, her husband knew nothing of the attack. He had gotten ahead of her while jogging and went back looking for her before base security picked him up and took him to the hospital.

Sledge estimated the bear to be between 7 and 8 feet tall based on the 7-inch size of the rear paw pads. He said the woman is lucky to be alive.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recommended the recreation areas near the attack site be closed for a week to give the bear time to clear out.

Sledge reminded people to be aware of their surroundings, because spring in Alaska can be dangerous. It's a time when wildlife such as bears and moose will aggressively defend their young.

The joint Army and Air Force base covers 75,000 acres within the municipal limits of Anchorage. Some of the base is not fenced, allowing bears and moose to travel freely between base land and forest land surrounding the Chugach Mountains.

Based on past studies, officials estimated that up to 40 brown bears and up to 300 black bears migrate through the base seasonally, Sledge said.

Bank Rates

Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
30 Y Fixed Graph 3.98% dw 4.08%  
15 Y Fixed Graph 3.09% dw 3.11%  
30 Y Fixed Jumbo Graph 4.20% -- 4.20%  
5/1 ARM Graph 3.20% dw 3.22%  
5/1 Jumbo ARM Graph 3.51% up 3.47%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
$30K HELOC Graph 4.30% up 4.26%  
$50K HELOC Graph 3.97% up 3.95%  
$30K Loan Graph 4.99% -- 4.99%  
$50K Loan Graph 4.34% -- 4.34%  
$75K Loan Graph 4.36% -- 4.36%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
36 M New Graph 2.94% dw 2.96%  
36 M Used Graph 3.48% dw 3.50%  
48 M New Graph 3.19% dw 3.23%  
48 M Used Graph 2.99% dw 3.06%  
60 M New Graph 3.20% dw 3.25%  
Loan Type Graph Yield +/- Last Week
6 month Graph 0.39% dw 0.40%  
1 yr Graph 0.70% -- 0.69%  
5 yr Graph 1.55% up 1.53%