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I Couldn't Breathe': Tourists Film Dangerously Close Encounter With Charging Bear


" in our group jumped up, ran away or screamed for their lives."

Could you sit still if this was running toward you? (Photo via Daily Mail)

A clan of 10 tourists had a quick briefing on what to do if they encountered a bear before heading out to sight-see in Alaska's Katmai National Park. What should you do? Stay still. Don't run.

This training came in handy when they not only encountered a bear, but were charged by one on what the Telegraph describes as a "safe viewing" tour. Watch this footage taken by one of the tourists, which has gone viral on the Web recently although we at the Blaze are questioning its timing due to the foliage and bears' hibernation patterns:

The Daily Mail reports that the group was told they would be watching the bears fishing "from a safe distance" when one suddenly turned toward them. It came so close as to sniff a member of the group and circle them before becoming disinterested.

The Daily Mail has more from some of the spectators:

Larry Griffith, 59, and wife Cindy, 57, were part of the group.

Mr Griffith, from New Mexico, U.S., said: 'There were eight others with us and we were allowed four hours in two different locations to view the bears.


"Our guide said he saw this as a bluff charge, trying to scare us, which he did!

"We were all in shock but were happy that no-one in our group jumped up, ran away or screamed for their lives.

"The bear actually smelled the hoodie of one of us, then walked behind us all within three feet.

"We were all frozen and I couldn't breathe. In the end the bear lost interest or got the message and left us alone.

"It was terrifying walking back through the grass to our boat-plane. I counted 30-40 different bears."

The National Wildlife Federation states bears such as grizzlies can run as fast as 40 miles per hour and can weigh upwards of 700 pounds. A bear's "bluff" charge is often used to give potential threats the chance to back down before an attack.

It is unclear from reports when exactly this incident happened or when the video footage was first released, but it is getting a lot of coverage on the Web now. You might find it unusual that all the trees and shrubs are green in the images and video. The National Park's website also states that peak bear viewing time is in July -- not February. We are skeptical about considering this video new for that reason and because the park's website also states the bears generally are in hibernation from November through April.

What are your thoughts?

This story has been updated for clarity. 

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