An Alaska man was mauled by a brown bear early Sunday morning while hiking the Bird Creek Trail south of Anchorage.
Ben Radakovich, 30, was three miles from the trail on Eagle River when he came face-to-face with a mother bear and her cub, the Alaska Department of Public Safety said.
“He scared the cub and that’s when the sow came out and attacked Ben,” trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said. “A pure adrenaline rush propelled him 30 feet up a nearby tree, where he escaped.”
According to Ipsen, Radakovich was wearing a backpack and carrying ski poles, which he used to fight the bear.
The attack happened around 7:45 a.m. when 911 dispatchers got a call from Radakovich, who was stranded in the tree.
“He said he could hear the bear below him while seeking shelter,” Ipsen said. “Rescuers got to the scene around 9:20 a.m., because both had to drive in from South Anchorage.”
Ispen says the trail sits off the Seward Highway, around Mile 101.
When troopers arrived, they found Radakovich had suffered from puncture wounds to his back all the way to his armpit and scratches down his neck.
Officials met up with medics from Girdwood Fire and Rescue, where they hauled Radakovich in a stretcher behind an ATV towards a trooper helicopter. He was transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where he was treated and later released.
“He did have pepper spray, but he couldn’t get it out,” Ispen said.
According to Ispen, State Department of Fish and Game officials are closing the Bird Creek Trail for a few days and the Penguin Creek Trail for a week.
The bear has not been located.