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Brown bear attacks teens in Alaska

by Liz Childers

“A brown bear and her cub attacked a group of teenage boys in Alaska Saturday night. Four boys were injured and in critical condition.

The teens were on the 24th day of a 30-day National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) program, which is designed to teach outdoor travel and leadership skills, according to the NOLS press release.

They were on the student expedition portion of the trip, so no instructors were present.The boys were crossing a creek in the western Talkeetna Mountains when the incident occurred. The first boy in the single-file line yelled, “Bear! Bear!” when he

rounded a bend and saw the bear. The boys in the front got the worst of the assault.
The boys have stated that they were carrying bear spray, according to NOLS guidelines, but could not reach it quickly enough. They also called out to the bear, as they had been taught to do.
After the bear left, the teens set up camp, provided emergency first-aid to the injured, and set off the emergency beacon.

State troopers said that authorities in a helicopter located the boys’ tent around 2:45 a.m. on Sunday. Two of the boys were determined too injured to be safely transported by the helicopter. A state trooper and a boy who was determined to be in the best condition stayed on the ground; the other four boys were taken to Mat-Su Regional Hospital in Palmer. Around 6:45 a.m., a better-equipped vehicle arrived and transported the remaining three boys to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

As of Tuesday morning, only the two most critically injured boys were still hospitalized. Joshua Berg, who led the group across the river and was the first attacked, suffers from a cracked skull and remains in critical condition. Samuel Gottsegen experienced two broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a bite to the head; he has been upgraded to good condition.Both boys are expected to make full recoveries.State troopers have also reported that the boys were doing nothing wrong. The bear was defending its cub, who the boys did not see.”