Alaska –– While I don’t know how I will die, I do know ways I won’t. Stories like the following are why I know I will never be mauled to a death by a grizzly while camping in Alaska.

Seven teens, ages 16 to 18, were on day 24 of a 30-day backpacking course in the Talkeetna mountains when they met a grizzly and her cub and well, things didn’t go so good. The group were participating in a National Outdoor Leadership School course that teaches students to be outdoor leaders with the experience and background to survive in the back country, with the ability to take others out into the Alaskan wilderness upon graduation.

Part of that training includes how to alert local wildlife, including bears, of their presence to give animals a chance to flee. The students said they did this as they crossed a river and came face-to-face with the bear and her cub, but this bear wasn’t going anywhere without taking a few faces with it. Witnesses said the bear attacked 17-year-old Joshua Berg first, then turned to 17-year-old Samuel Gottsegen, then turned back to Berg. These two were at the front of the line and the most seriously injured.

Before the bears fled the area, four teens would be severely injured. But what could be either a testament to the National Outdoor Leadership course or just plain luck — or probably a bit of both — the teens kept their wits about them and began first-aid on the injured while setting up camp and activating a locator beacon. The Alaska Air National Guard’s Rescue Coordination Center dispatched a rescue helicopter with a state trooper on board. They would find the group in a tent nearly six hours later.

They determined that Berg and Gottsegen were too injured to be safely transported by the helicopter so the trooper, along with the least injured of the group, stayed behind while the helicopter transported the remaining to Mat-Su Regional Hospital for treatment. “We did not want to make them worse,” troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. “We felt that if we moved them, they might not make the trip back.”

Four hours later, a better equipped helicopter evacuated Berg and Gottsegen and was flown directly to Providence Alaska Medical Center to treat the two teen’s life-threatening bite and puncture wounds marking the end of an incident that could make a great movie. This attack marks the second bear attack on a student in the school’s 40 year history, the last one happening in 2003 when a black bear wandered into a camp and bit a student on the leg.

I gotta hand it to the teens as it seems like they used what they had learned at the school to greatly increase their chance of survival. If I had been on this trip, the outcome would have been a lot different. Witnesses would have described a horrifying massacre in which a man was observed chucking teenagers at a bear before fleeing into the wilderness screaming like a banshee.

Blame Hilton Johnson for the Horatio strip. Their comment below made me do it.

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