This post has been updated with an interview of one of the victims.
A group of seven teens learning survival skills in the Alaskan wilderness were attacked by a grizzly bear with her cub Saturday evening. Four of the teens were injured, two badly.
Alaska State Troopers found the students using a locating beacon and transported them from the scene by helicopter, according to a press release from the National Outdoor Leadership School. The had been waiting nine hours for resuce.
Bruce Palmer , a spokesman for the school, said that Joshua Berg, 17 of New York, and Samuel Gottsegen, 17 of Denver, sustained the worst injuries, according to the Associated Press. A hospital spokesperson said both are in serious condition. Gottsegen’s father told the “Today” show, “We’re just so thankful and relieved that he’s okay.”
“I thought I was going to die when I was being attacked. I was so scared,” Samuel Gottsegen, who suffered a bear bite to the chest, told 7News in Denver by phone. “I looked behind me and the bear was behind me. So, I started running down the hill and it tackled me on the way down.”
Gottsegen said the other students made a bandage out of a garbage bag.
The students were participating a 30-day backpacking course run by NOLS. The course is offered to students 16 and older, according to the school’s Web site , and promises participants will “become a seasoned wilderness traveler, learning how to read a map, navigate off trail, and scan the horizon for grizzly bears, black bears, moose, wolves, and Dall sheep.” The teens were hiking without an instructor because they had reached a point in the course when students set out alone.
Earlier this month, a man visiting Yellowstone National Park was killed by a grizzly after he and his wife came upon a mama bear and her cubs.