Campers attacked, injured by bear while sleeping in tent: ‘Wrong place at the wrong time’

U.S. and World

The victims, who were not identified by authorities, had been camping near the Hidden Creek Trail at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. (Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

(NEXSTAR) – Two campers are being treated for injuries after they were attacked by a bear while sleeping in their tent on Saturday morning.

The victims, who were not identified by authorities, had been camping near the Hidden Creek Trail at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. They had packed both bear spray and a bear horn to use as deterrents, though they used neither as they had been caught off-guard by the animal.

“There’s no indication that they did anything to prompt the attack or did anything wrong,” said Jeff Selinger of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in a statement provided to the Anchorage Daily News. “It’s one of those [cases] where you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The attack occurred around midnight, authorities say. The injured campers then abandoned their gear and kayaked to a campground along Skilak Lake, about an hour away. There, they were assisted by other campers, according to a news release shared by the Kenai National Wildlife Reserve.

“Alaska State Troopers were contacted via satellite phone and emergency medical personnel responded by helicopter and ambulance,” reads the release. “The two campers were transported to area hospitals.”

The severity of their injuries was not disclosed, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Officers and biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) later investigated the campsite to gather possible DNA evidence, in the hopes of identifying a motive for the attack, and the species of bear involved.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge also urged campers to “remain bear aware” by brushing up on the refuge’s safety tips before visiting.

“Alaska is fortunate to be home to these amazing creatures,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service writes of the Alaska refuge. “With this privilege comes the added responsibility for hikers and campers to prevent conflicts with these animals.”

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