Bear mauls man in Hoonah

Downtown Hoonah.
Downtown Hoonah. Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/Coastalaska.

A 58-year-old Hoonah man mauled by a brown bear Wednesday night has been medevac’d to Sitka with non-life threatening injuries.

Hoonah Police Chief Corey Rowley says the man was attacked about 9:45 p.m. as he was walking near downtown. He says the man suffered bites and scratches on his legs and back.

“Bites to his lower body and injuries to his back from the claws,” Rowley said.

He declined to identify the man. The bear was a sow with a cub, but Rowley says the man apparently had not come between them.

Coast Guard Search and Rescue Controller Adam DeRocher says their medical staff monitored the case. But a commercial medevac service was scheduled to take the injured man to Sitka for treatment Thursday morning.

Rowley says police searched most of the night for the bear. They were able to locate it in a deep canyon using thermal imaging equipment, but officers were unable to reach the animal and by morning it was gone.

He says his number one concern right now is for the safety of children walking to and from school.

“Absolutely. The initial report we received was that she was trying to drag him off into the hemlock,” Rowley says. “So, that’s a concern.”

Rowley says Alaska Wildlife Troopers are sending resources to Hoonah to help with the search, which continues.

Matt Miller contributed to this report

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