Grizzly attacks 7 youths in Alaska

July 24, 2011 at 9:45 PM
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TALKEETNA, Alaska, July 24 (UPI) -- A grizzly bear attacked seven teenagers as they crossed a creek in Alaska's Talkeetna Mountains, injuring two of them seriously, state police say.

State troopers said the youths, ages 16-18, who were taking part in a month-long survival-skills course, were attacked by the mother bear with a cub about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters told the newspaper two of the teens suffered life-threatening injuries and the other five were also hurt. The youths, who were 24 days into a 30-day National Outdoor Leadership School course, were evacuated from the remote area by air hours later.

School spokesman Bruce Palmer told the Daily News in a phone interview from Wyoming, the attack came on the group's first day unaccompanied by adult instructors.

"For the last bit of the course, we would have them travel as a student group without the instructors, utilizing the skills that they've learned over time," Palmer said.

After the attack, the teens started first aid, established a camp and turned on a locator beacon. It took until 2:45 a.m. for a state police helicopter to reach the camp, Peters said. That helicopter flew four of the teens out and a Alaska Air National Guard chopper flew out the three most seriously injured youths.

Troopers were still looking for the bear Sunday afternoon, Peters said.

The two most-seriously injured teens were identified as Joshua Berg, 17, of New City, N.Y. and Samuel Gottsegen, 17, of Denver. The others were Samuel Boas, 16 of Westport, Conn.; Noah Allaine, 16 of Albuquerque, N.M.; Simeon Melman, 17 of Huntington, N.Y.; Victor Martin, 18, of Richmond, Calif.; and Shane Garlock, age 16, of Pittsford, N.Y.

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