9-year-old seriously injured in bear attack near Palmer

9-year-old seriously injured in bear attack near Palmer
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 7:55 PM AKDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 3:29 PM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska State Troopers responded to a reported bear attack Tuesday that left two people hospitalized.

Troopers said the attack involved two people — an adult male and a 9-year-old boy — near mile 36 of the Glenn Highway, at the end of Matanuska Townsite Road. The boy had serious injuries and the man had minor injuries and both were taken to an area hospital for medical treatment.

A witness at the scene reported seeing a man carrying a child away from the road with head lacerations. Wednesday afternoon, troopers wrote in an email that the 9-year-old boy is “in fair condition and currently receiving medical care.”

Troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel confirmed that the man and juvenile male came across a brown bear sow and her cub while hunting in the Palmer Hay Flats area. The man accompanying the child was armed and shot and killed the sow bear during the attack.

Alaska Wildlife Trooper Scott Lanier told reporters on the scene that his department will continue to investigate the situation.

“We will come in with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with the biologist and we’ll do the full investigation, necropsy and find out what’s going on with this bear,” Lanier said.

Residents of Butte have reported several encounters with a bear who killed dozens of chickens and turkeys this month. Department of Fish and Game Regional Management Coordinator Todd Rinaldi wrote that a necropsy had been completed on the bear.

“There was no evidence to suggest that this bear was involved in the raids on chicken coops reported last week in the Butte,” Rinaldi wrote. “A ground search of the area today by AWT and DFG, and an aerial search with AST’s A-star helicopter, did not locate a cub.”

This story has been updated with additional information.