Eagle River man in the hospital after mauling by grizzly in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Grizzly bear.
Grizzly bear.(National Park Service | National Park Service)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 9:36 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - An Eagle River man is in the hospital after being mauled by a grizzly bear near the Chisana River in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

The man, 39-year-old Jason Long, was in an unnamed drainage adjacent to the river when he was attacked on Wednesday, according to a release from the park and preserve. He was there hunting and was alone when a sow with two cubs mauled him, the release stated.

The attack caused lacerations and puncture wounds, the the preserve reported that after activating an inReach locator device, Long was rescued by members of the Alaska Air National Guard and taken to an Anchorage hospital where he was last known to be in stable condition.

Coordinating with the National Park Service, the National Guard diverted a Pave Hawk helicopter from its 210th Rescue Squadron based at the Eielson Air Force Base that was already on a routine mission near Talkeetna at the time. According to the press release, the aircraft was sent instead to the park by the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, and a two-man team went to the scene to treat Long and prepare him to be transported.

There are no plans to search for the bear involved in the attack, according to the park, “due to the apparent defensive nature of this attack.”

“Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised,” the release states. “There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”

The helicopter met up with another aircraft for an air-to-air refuel before returning to Long’s location to hoist him and the pararescue team members up, according to the release. Long was then transferred to another aircraft that took him to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, and then to the hospital.

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