A grizzly bear sow with a cub attacked a group of teenagers on a month-long survival-skills course Saturday night in the Talkeetna Mountains, causing severe injuries to two of the hikers, according to Alaska State Troopers.
The bear pounced as the seven hikers were crossing a creek about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.
Two of the teenagers suffered life-threatening injuries, and the other five were also injured, either by the bear or from exposure, Peters said.
Troopers and Alaska Air National Guard rescuers eventually evacuated the group, Peters said.
The hikers were all between 16 and 18 years old, and were participating in a National Outdoor Leadership School course, Peters said.
The group was on the 24th day of a 30-day backpacking trip, school spokesman Bruce Palmer said by phone from Wyoming. It was the group's first day unaccompanied by adult instructors, Palmer said.
"For the last bit of the course, we would have them travel as a student group without the instructors, utilizing the skills that they've learned over time," Palmer said.
The mauling occurred deep in the wilderness of the mountains east of the Parks Highway. According to a statement from the National Outdoor Leadership School, it was about 45 miles northeast of Talkeetna.
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