A bear attacked a teen as he slept in a hammock Saturday night at a campsite located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 16-year-old boy was taken to a hospital and treated for injuries after a wild bear dragged him out of the hammock and began attacking him, ABC News reports.
The national park covers a large area — spanning from eastern Tennessee to western North Carolina.
The teen and his father were both in hammocks 10-feet apart when the bear launched his attack unexpectedly. As the park said in a release, the boy remained conscious during the harrowing attack. He suffered injuries and lacerations to his head. Luckily, the boy’s father managed to drive off the bear.
After the bear attacked the teen sleeping in his hammock, he was rushed to Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina early Sunday morning. The park reports that the bear attack victim is in stable condition.
Park superintendent, Cassius Cash, says they ask park visitors to exercise precautions while hiking in bear country.
“While incidents with bears are rare, we ask park visitors to take necessary precautions while hiking in bear country and comply with all back country closures.”
Bears are often drawn to food often left out by campers, but the reports states that the father and son had properly stored all food and equipment.
As the investigation continues into this bear attack incident, several trails and campsites are being temporarily closed.
The Commercial Appeal adds a few more details in its report surrounding the bear that attacked the teen as he slept in his hammock. The 16-year-old and his father traveled from Athens, Ohio to camp at the Smoky Mountains. The attack happened around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, but the father and his son had to hike to the lakeshore where they were “transported across the lake to Cable Cove boat dock by campers at backcountry campsite 86 who had a boat. Graham County Rescue EMS transported them to a landing zone where the injured party was flown by Mountain Area Medical Airlift to Mission Hospital in Asheville at approximately 3 a.m. Sunday.”
Trails closed until further notice are Hazel Creek Trail, Jenkins Ridge Trail, Bone Valley Trail, and Cold Spring Gap Trail. Back country campsites closed during the investigation include 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, and 88.
Despite the bear attacking the teen while he was sleeping in a hammock, park officials don’t believe there’s reason for widespread alarm over bear attacks.
[Photo Credit: Commons Wikimedia]