Woman survives vicious bear attack

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Oint Base Elmendorf-Richardson - Bloodied and dazed after being slashed by the claws of a brown bear, a woman struggled to walk 3km along a curvy, hilly trail to find someone to help her.

The woman, who has asked that her identity not be released, was hospitalised in stable condition on Monday, a day after the attack on an Anchorage military base, officials said. She suffered lacerations to her neck, arms and legs.

The woman was jogging with her soldier husband on Sunday morning on the northwestern part of the sprawling Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The couple became separated, and as she jogged down a hill near a bend, she came upon a bear leaving a trail at the same time.

Air Force Major Angela Webb said they startled each other, and the bear, with two cubs in tow, assumed a defensive position in the largely wooded, remote area.

"The bear attacked her, defending her babies, seeing her as a threat", said Mark Sledge, senior conservation law enforcement officer at the base.

The bear knocked down the woman and took at least one swipe at her. Officials still haven't interviewed the woman and don't know if she was knocked unconscious or played dead until the animal left the area.

Playing dead is the appropriate response when meeting a female bear protecting cubs, Sledge said.

Bear

Authorities don't know how long she lay there after the attack. At some point, the blood-covered woman was able to start up the rough terrain for the road, about 3km away.

"The survival instinct for that woman is phenomenal", Sledge said. "The trauma that she went through and the walk out was heroic."

A soldier driving in the area saw the woman and rushed her to the base hospital. From there, she was transferred to the Alaska native medical centre.

Meanwhile, her husband knew nothing of the attack. He had gotten ahead of her while jogging and went back looking for her before base security picked him up and took him to the hospital.

Sledge estimated the bear to be between 2 to 3m tall based on the the rear paw pads. He said the woman is lucky to be alive.

The Alaska department of fish and game recommended the recreation areas near the attack site be closed for a week to give the bear time to clear out.

Bear
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