Man expected to survive after Alaska bear mauling

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 21, 2011 6:59 PM

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A moose hunter severely mauled by a bear in a remote part of Alaska had to travel by boat and later ride in a helicopter to reach a hospital, but he was recovering from his wounds on Wednesday and expected to survive, state officials said.

Donald Sanford, 65, was attacked by the bear on Monday at a site off the Denali Highway, in the interior part of the state, said Alaska State Troopers.

Sanford summoned a hunting partner and was taken by boat about five miles downriver to a remote lodge. Then, the Alaska Air National Guard picked him up by helicopter and flew him some 170 miles to an Anchorage hospital, the troopers said.

He had multiple wounds to his abdomen, back, neck and hands and had been bleeding for hours when rescuers picked him up by helicopter, said a spokesman with the guard.

Sanford's wounds were not life-threatening, according to the Alaska Air National Guard.

The bear appears to have been guarding its own moose kill when it confronted Sanford, said Susie Echols, co-owner of the lodge where Sanford was treated initially and picked up by the helicopter.

"From what they could tell at that point, there was a moose that the bear had downed, and it was covered up, like a bear would do," Echols said

The bear is still prowling in the area where the attack occurred, she said.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Jerry Norton)