UPDATE: Authorities release names of Alaska bear mauling victims

    JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) - Two wilderness guides were mauled by a bear near Sitka Thursday. See U.S. Coast Guard video of rescue.

    UPDATE TUESDAY:

    SEATTLE (AP) — The condition of an Alaska wilderness guide who was mauled by a bear last week has improved.

    Authorities say Anna Powers of Hawaii has been hospitalized since she and another guide, Michael Justa of Juneau, were attacked by a brown bear Thursday as they were leading cruise ship passengers on a hike in the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska.

    The Coast Guard rescued the guides and transported them to Sitka, where Justa was treated and released. Powers was then flown to Seattle where she was hospitalized in intensive care. The hospital now says Powers is in satisfactory condition.


    UPDATE MONDAY:

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Authorities in Alaska have released the names of two wilderness guides who were mauled by a brown bear as they were leading cruise ship passengers on a hike in the Tongass National Forest.

    Alaska State Troopers said Monday the victims of Thursday's mauling are 41-year-old Anna Powers of Hawaii and 26-year-old Michael Justa of Juneau. A hometown for Powers was not disclosed.

    The guides are crew members of the 74-passenger cruise vessel Wilderness Explorer who were leading 22 people on a hike about 30 miles north of Sitka in southeast Alaska.

    The guides were rescued by the Coast Guard and were transported to Sitka, where Justa was treated and released. Powers was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for further treatment.

    Powers' condition was not immediately available Monday.


    UPDATE SATURDAY:

    JUNEAU, Alaksa (ABC) - Never get between a momma bear and her cub. Alaska State Troopers now say a brown bear that mauled two wilderness guides Thursday was just protecting her cub. The guides were leading cruise ship passengers on a hiking excursion near Sitka.

    The cruise ship company's CEO Dan Blanchard says every precaution was taken to avoid dangerous encounters with bears, "The group was making a lot of noise obviously following typical bear country technique."

    Blanchard also says passengers were pretty shaken up after seeing the guides attacked and one is still hospitalized, "She appears to be stable but she's been with us a long time and is a personal friend to all of us here and so right our thoughts are all about her and her recovery."


    UPDATE FRIDAY:

    The Latest: No plans to hunt down bear after Alaska mauling

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on two cruise ship wilderness guides mauled by a bear in Alaska (all times local):

    3 p.m.

    Authorities say they have no plans to hunt down a bear that mauled two wilderness guides who were leading cruise ship passengers on a hiking excursion in the Tongass National Forest.

    Alaska State Troopers say the attack occurred after the group from the cruise vessel Wilderness Explorer came between the female animal and its cub on Thursday on a trail about 30 miles north of Sitka.

    Sitka District Ranger Perry Edwards says Forest Service law enforcement officers and state wildlife troopers have determined the attack was a defensive, non-predatory move. He says bears are common in the area, which is near a salmon stream.

    The names of the guides — a man and a woman — have not been released.

    The female guide was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she is listed in serious condition in intensive care.

    10:50 a.m.

    Alaska State Troopers say a brown bear that mauled two wilderness guides who were leading cruise ship passengers on a hiking excursion went on the attack after the group came between the female animal and her cub.

    The guides injured Thursday are crew members of the 74-passenger cruise vessel Wilderness Explorer who were leading 22 people on a hike about 30 miles north of Sitka in southeast Alaska.

    Spokeswoman Sarah Scoltock with vessel operator Un-Cruise Adventures says no one else was injured and she doesn't know if anyone witnessed the mauling on the Sitkoh Creek Trail.

    The names of the guides have not been released.

    Scoltock says the guides — a man and a woman — were transported to Sitka for treatment. The injured woman was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for further treatment.

    8:20 a.m.

    A man and a woman mauled by a bear in Alaska were airlifted by a Coast Guard helicopter to receive medical treatment.

    The Coast Guard says the two are wilderness guides who were leading a group of cruise ship passengers on a hike about 30 miles north of Sitka.

    The cruise vessel Wilderness Explorer on Thursday afternoon notified the Coast Guard that two of its passengers had been mauled.

    The Coast Guard launched a helicopter from Sitka.

    The crew hoisted the man and woman into the chopper and transported them to emergency medical personnel in Sitka with what the Coast Guard said were "multiple injuries and severe lacerations."

    Winds of 23 mph were reported at the time.

    Their conditions were not immediately known.


    ORIGINAL STORY FROM NEWS OF THE NORTH FRIDAY 5:30 a.m.

    JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) - Two wilderness guides were mauled by a bear near Sitka Thursday.

    They were leading a group of 20 passengers from the cruise vessel Wilderness Explorer on the Sitkoh Creek Trail.

    A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 crew hoisted a male and female for medical evacuation to emergency medical personnel in Angoon.

    Both sustained multiple injuries and severe lacerations.

    Alaska State Troopers report they were confronted by a sow and cub brown bear and ultimately mauled.

    One of the victims did deploy pepper spray and the bears eventually departed the area.

    One victim was treated and released while the second victim is being held with more serious injuries.


     

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