On Saturday evening, July 23, at about 8:30 pm PST a group of teenage outdoor education students were hiking through the western Talkeetna Mountains , east of Denali National Park, Alaska, when they were attacked by a grizzly bear.
The group was in the process of crossing a river in single file when the attack took place. The two lead hikers 17-year-old Joshua Berg of New York and 17-year-old Samuel Gottsegen of Denver, who bore the brunt of the attack were severely mauled by the bear. Two other students were also attacked but suffered minor injuries.
The teens were on the 24th day of a 30-day backpacking expedition operated by the National Outdoor Leadership School. The course teaches students outdoor survival and camping skills. This was the first day the students were to hike the remainder of the course without their instructors.
Other members of the group were able to activate an emergency beacon and the teens were rescued on Sunday morning by the Alaska Air National Guard, state troopers said.
Berg and Gottsegen were airlifted to Anchorage were they are being treated at Providence Alaska Medical Center. Hospital spokeswoman Crystal Bailey said both are listed in serious condition. The grizzly was a sow that appeared to be guarding a cub, said Don Ford, the NOL school’s Alaska director. The school has never before had a bear maul any of its Alaska expedition members, Ford said. “This is our 40th year of operation in Alaska. We have not had a bear attack in all of that 40 years,” he said. The National Outdoor Leadership School, based in Lander, Wyoming, is a non-profit educational organisation that conducts expeditions and instructional courses around the world.