Skier Rescued from Mountain in Alaska After Being Mauled by Bear

Joelle Goldstein
·3 min read

United States Coast Guard The skier being rescued from the Alaskan mountain

A skiing trip took a dangerous turn for one man after officials say he was mauled by a bear on an Alaskan mountain.

The scary incident unfolded on Saturday near Haines, just above Chilkoot Lake, according to a press release from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials said the Sector Juneau command center received a helicopter hoist request from Alaska State Troopers around 3:20 p.m.

When Coast Guard officers arrived, they found the man — who had suffered injuries to his head and hands — as well as two other skiers in his party at an elevation of 1,600 feet.

They later learned that the man had been attacked by a bear on the mountain during a backcountry skiing outing, according to the press release.

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The Alaska Department of Fish and Game told CNN that the man accidentally awoke the brown bear in a den, and the wild animal was likely a mother protecting her cub.

"The skier who was attacked at some point realized he should play dead, which is probably a good idea in this type of circumstance," state wildlife biologist Carl Koch explained to the outlet.

Following their arrival, the Coast Guard said they were able to lower a member onto the mountain to evaluate the skier's condition, before using a litter to hoist him to the helicopter.

Officials then treated the man's injuries as he was flown to Juneau for higher medical care, according to the release.

The two other skiers did not require assistance and were able to continue down the mountain on their own, the Coast Guard announced.

In a statement, Lt. Cmdr. Will Sirokman, the co-pilot for the case, credited those two skiers for being well-prepared and saving the man's life after the bear attack.

"The other two members in the patient's skiing party had the proper equipment and knowledge to assist with his injuries and communicate for help in 15 degree temperatures with sunset approaching," Sirokman said.

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"Their satellite communication device provided the precise GPS coordinates and elevation of their location," Sirokman added. "Equally important, they had brightly colored fabric to signal the helicopter as we approached. This was absolutely crucial to us finding them in a timely manner."

At this time, the man's condition remains unknown. Coast Guard officials said he was responsive and talking at the time of the helicopter hoist.

Experts advise those who encounter bears while outdoors to identify themselves immediately so the bear knows they're human, remain calm, make themselves as large as possible and move away slowly and sideways, according to the National Park Service (NPS).

In the event a bear attacks, NPS experts say it is best to play dead and remain still until the bear leaves.