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Woman injured in hiking trail bear mauling

By KTVA CBS 11 News 12:28 PM July 7, 2014

A 59-year-old woman was hospitalized Monday after being mauled by a bear on a hiking trail south of Anchorage, authorities said.

Susanne Knudsen of Indian said she was jogging a trail in Chugach State Park when two brown bear cubs, believed to be between 1 and 2 years old, popped out of the brush in front of her. One cub started to come toward her when she was hit from behind by the mother bear, according to AST dispatch. Her injuries are serious, but are believed to be non-life-threatening. According to an initial report, Knudsen sustained upper body and head injuries when the sow attacked twice in quick succession, said wildlife biologist Jessy Coltrane.

State wildlife officials on the scene were told the woman was wearing headphones and not carrying bear spray. Knudsen did not get between the sow and cubs, said Coltrane, who said the report she received says all the bears were to Knudsen’s left.

Using her cellphone, Knudsen called for help around 10:20 a.m. When a Girdwood-based Alaska State Trooper responded, the trooper encountered company Alaska ATV Adventures set up in the parking lot, troopers said. The company let the trooper borrow the ATV, and with a guide in tow, the trooper found Knudsen, who was with other ATV riders.

With the help of Alaska ATV Adventures, Knudsen was taken to a nearby parking lot, troopers said. The woman was then medevaced to an Anchorage hospital to be treated for her injuries.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game responded to the area and closed the trail due to bear activity. It will remain closed for a few days, Coltrane said.

–Video will be added to this story.

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