Archive for Monday, June 30, 2008

Bear mauls teen during 24-hour bike race

June 30, 2008

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— A 14-year-old girl riding in a mountain bike race was attacked in the dark of night by a bear Sunday and severely injured, but she was able to make a brief 911 call that eventually resulted in her rescue.

The girl suffered head, neck, torso and leg wounds. She underwent surgery and was in critical condition Sunday afternoon at Providence Alaska Medical Center, police said.

"The local bear expert said it's probably a sow grizzly," said Cleo Hill, a spokeswoman for the Anchorage Fire Department. "One has been sighted in the area recently."

The attack occurred along a trail in a 24-hour race put on by the Arctic Bicycle Club in Bicentennial Park. Rescuers had to hike in more than two miles to reach the girl.

The park, on Anchorage's east side, borders on Chugach State Park. Wild animals - from grizzly and black bears to moose, wolves and wolverines - frequent the area. The girl was attacked as she reached a trail.

About 60 riders were entered in the race - a circular route that followed groomed trails used by hikers, bikers and skiers. The race began at noon Saturday and was to conclude at noon Sunday but was canceled after the attack.

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