Over the weekend, TheBlaze brought you the story of a Calif. man who was killed in his encounter with a bear in Denali National Park. Now, a second person has been attacked in Alaska, though this story has a better outcome for a Seattle woman whose quick thinking saved her life.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Julia Stafford, 20, was working for a Canadian mining company on the Denali Highway near Tangle Lakes on Sunday when a bear with two cubs was spotted. She and a colleague were collecting rock samples when they saw the bear and her brood and immediately began walking away from the animal.
The geological engineering student at the University of British Columbia recounted the events to the News-Miner from Fairbanks Memorial Hospital where she was recovering from wounds:
“We started walking uphill to get away from it and it started walking toward us,” she said. “We stopped once we saw it was following us and tried to get the bear spray out but by then it was already running toward us.”
Stafford had the can of bear spray on her pack, which she was holding in her hands, when the bear charged. She didn’t have time to get it out before the bear crashed into them, she said.
“I was wearing gloves and they were wet and it was confusing,” Stafford said. “There was just not enough time to get the bear spray out.”
Both Stafford and her colleague played dead when the bear knocked them on the ground. Stafford was bitten and dragged by the bear. She told the News-Miner she thinks she screamed but it happened so quickly she can't recall. After being dragged 20 feet, the bear let her go and ran away. At this point, Stafford's colleague wrapped her bleeding wounds and the two called for a helicopter, which came within 20 minutes.
Considering the most recent bear attack that killed 49-year-old Richard White from San Diego, Stafford's wounds are minor. The News-Minor reports she required stitches and will have surgery on her broken hand.
KTUU-TV out of Alaska reports David Battle, a wildlife official with Alaska Fish & Game, saying bears are currently foraging for food as they prepare for hibernation. He recommends traveling in groups, making noise, and, if attacked, to lay on one's stomach, protecting your head and neck.
“If you have a pack, sometimes the bear will be tearing away at the pack," Battle told KTUU.
Watch this report via King 5:
(H/T: Daily Mail)