Alaska Bears Severely Maul Group of Teens

Mother, cub attack group during survival skills training
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jul 25, 2011 1:40 AM CDT
Updated Jul 25, 2011 5:00 AM CDT
A Brown bear reacts at the Zoo in Madrid Tuesday Aug. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Paul White)
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(Newser) – Four teenagers were critically injured in an attack by a brown bear sow and her cub as the boys hiked through the Alaskan wilderness, reports CNN. The four, all between the ages of 16 and 18, were at the head of a group of seven teens, there as part of the National Outdoor Leadership School. They were hiking on their own to study survival skills when the animals went for them as they crossed a river north of Talkeetna. "They were mauled, very severely," says a state trooper. "It was truly an emergency situation." Two of the teens suffered life-threatening injuries.

Sam Gottsegen, 17, of Denver, "turned and all he saw was a brown mass and a crimson face coming at him," says his dad from the hospital where his son is recovering. The teen suffered broken ribs, a bite to the head, and bites to his chest that punctured a lung, according to the Denver Post, which reported it as an attack by grizzlies, not brown bears. Rescuers flew in by helicopter to stabilize the teens so they could be airlifted out. The hikers say they did everything they had been instructed to do during a bear encounter, including calling out to chase bears away. State troopers are attempting to track the bears. All teens and nearby instructors in the survival program were airlifted from the area.

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