Boater mauled by brown bear during Copper River trip
One of two rafters traveling along the Copper River suffered relatively minor injuries after being mauled Monday by a brown bear, according to state officials.
Ken Marsh, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Game, said the attack occurred during a rafting trip from McCarthy to Cordova, when the rafters surprised a sow brown bear.
Alaska State Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said the victim had been treated and released by Tuesday afternoon.
An initial report of the attack came in just before 5 p.m. Monday, after the couple involved had stopped for the night along Taral Creek to camp.
"They encountered a sow grizzly with at least one cub, and the male was subsequently attacked and was bitten several times," DeSpain said.
The couple's location was first reported by satellite phone, according to DeSpain.
A fishing charter vessel in the area with AK Expeditions was able to pick up the victim, who suffered what DeSpain said appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries. He was taken to the O'Brien Creek area, transferred to an ambulance, driven to Gulkana and flown to an Anchorage hospital.
Fish and Game has no plans to hunt the bear, Marsh said, because the sow’s reaction was consistent with a surprise or defensive mauling rather than a predatory one.
“What they'll typically do is neutralize the threat: knock someone down, rough 'em up a bit, grab the cub and run away,” Marsh said.
In Eagle River near Anchorage, Marsh said Fish and Game is still searching for the brown bear or bears which fatally mauled hiker Michael Soltis and injured a member of a search party looking for him last week. Additional traps have been deployed in the area, with no sign of a bear linked to either attack.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.