A helicopter from Air Station Sitka medevaced a woman from Sitkoh Bay Thursday afternoon, after she was mauled by a brown bear.
According to Christopher Austin, the rescue swimmer on the flight, the woman, who was in her thirties, was guiding a tour from a Un-Cruise Adventures cruise ship when the attack occurred.
“The first tour guide was up front. She didn’t have any bear spray or protection from wildlife on her, but the guide that was in the back of the group did. And unfortunately there was about 20 people between them,” Austin said. “When the attack happened, he ran up to the front. All the other people took off. He sprayed the bear as it was mauling the first victim and was able to get it off of her. There were some wounds inflicted on him that were rather minor. After that the bear took off.”
Austin said it appears the bear was a sow protecting her cubs.
Both victims were transported to Sitka, and taken to Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. Austin says that although the woman was not ambulatory, she was alert and able to describe her injuries to her rescuers.
Sitkoh Bay is about 50 miles north of Sitka.