Cyclists fight off cougar in rare attack east of Seattle that leaves woman injured

Cyclists fight off cougar in rare attack east of Seattle that leaves woman injured

A group of cyclists east of Seattle fended off cougar in a rare attack over the weekend that left a woman with injuries to her neck and face, authorities said.

The injured cyclist, identified by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as an adult woman, was in stable condition.

The animal attacked the woman, who was riding in a group of five cyclists, on Saturday shortly before 1 p.m. near Fall City, about 25 miles east of Seattle, the department said in a news release.

“They did struggle with this animal,” Carlo Pace, an officer with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, told NBC affiliate KING-TV of Seattle. “They did fight back. If it wasn’t for these people the lady that was attacked would be in much worse shape.”

The group was riding near a creek that Pace described as the animal's "natural place" to follow prey.

“These bicyclists happened to be in that place,” Pace added. “Wrong place, wrong time.”

The animals typically stay away from people, he said. In the last century, there have been 22 cougar attacks in Washington State, including two that were fatal, the station reported.

The department said officers “removed” a 75-pound cougar from the scene. The release did not provide more details about the animal or its death but noted the animal's body was being sent to a local university lab for examination.

The department expects to learn the cougar's age, body condition and whether it had a disease, the release said.

Witnesses in the area saw a second cougar run through the scene, the department said. Officers failed to locate the animal during a search.

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