“When Animals Attack”:
The teenage outdoor education students, having progressed to the point of being on their own in the vast Alaska wilderness, were lined up single file for a river crossing when the grizzly burst with fury into the front of the line, badly mauling two in the group and injuring two more.
Hospital spokeswoman Crystal Bailey said the two mauled teens are listed in serious condition after troopers earlier said the injuries were life-threatening.
Those in the front screamed of the bear’s presence. The bear was with her cub when she attacked, according to state troopers. The teens were in a group of seven participating in a 30-day backcountry course conducted by the National Outdoor Leadership School when the attack occurred Saturday night in the Talkeetna Mountains north of Anchorage. They were rescued early Sunday after activating their emergency locator beacon and tending to their most seriously wounded.
The group was eventually found about 34 miles away from the nearest highway, CBS News affiliate KTVA-TV reports. Palmer said the worst injured with bear bite wounds are 17-year-old Joshua Berg of New City, N.Y., and 17-year-old Samuel Gottsegen of Denver. They were being treated at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.
Gottsegen had suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and head and chest wounds when the bear came back for more, CBS News’ Danielle Nottingham reported on “The Early Show.” That’s when Berg intervened, probably saving Gottsegen’s life.
“[He] came up and started kicking the bear to help Sam fight the bear off, and the bear then went away, so … I’m extremely grateful,” Mindy Gottsegen, Samuel’s mother, told CBS News.
When the bear broke off the attack, the teens activated a personal locator beacon they carried to be used only for an emergency, Peters said. The teens were in the 24th day of their course when the attack occurred. There was no instructor with them because that far into the course, they’ve learned enough survival skills, Palmer said.
“Our basic goal is that when a student graduates from the NOLS course, they have the experience and background to be able to take other people out into the backcountry,” he said. “We’re training people to be outdoor leaders basically.”