ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man was injured when he was mauled by a bear while skiing in Southeast Alaska, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The man suffered injuries to his face and hands in the attack about 10 miles (16 kilometers) northwest of Haines Saturday, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Joe Wineke, command center watchstander for the Coast Guard’s District 17, said in a statement that the man, who was not identified, was backcountry skiing with two others on a mountain on the south side of Chilkoot Lake.
Alaska State Troopers requested Coast Guard assistance at about 3:20 p.m.
The skiers carried a satellite communication device, which they used to provide their location. The skiers also wore brightly colored clothing, which helped the Coast Guard find them, Wineke said.
A five-person crew from Sitka arrived in a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and lowered a crew member to evaluate the injured skier before hoisting him into the helicopter, the Coast Guard said.
“The other two members in the patient’s skiing party had the proper equipment and knowledge to assist with his injuries and communicate for help in 15 degree temperatures with sunset approaching,” helicopter copilot Lt. Cmdr. Will Sirokman said.
The helicopter took the skier to Juneau, where he was hospitalized. The Coast Guard said he was alert and talking when he was rescued.
The other two skiers did not need help and continued down the mountain on their own, the Coast Guard said.
The type of bear involved and factors that may have triggered the attack were not immediately clear.
Bears in the Southeast region of the state hibernate for a shorter period than bears in the north, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said.