Gabrielle Markel, a woman mauled by a bear in Alaska, is in good condition after suffering an attack while she was out jogging.
Markel, 20, who works at the Alaska Wildland Adventures lodge, was running along the Cooper Landing trail at the state’s Kenai Peninsula with her co-worker Kaitlin Haley, 26, when a brown bear appeared from the nearby brush and started attacking her, according to Sport Act. Markel attempted to divert the animal with pepper spray while Haley ran for help.
“Haley ran from the scene back to the lodge for help, the bear was still on top of Markel when Haley last saw her,” the Alaska State Troopers wrote in a post regarding the incident.
“Haley and several other employees ran from the lodge back to the scene of the attack armed with bear spray. As they were advancing up the trail, they saw Markel walking towards them.”
Markel, who was taken to the Providence Alaska Medical Center, suffered bites and scratch marks to her head, back, and arms. She was treated at the hospital and upgraded from fair to good condition on Wednesday, CBS News reports.
The two women reportedly startled the bear, leading to the attack.
“They surprised a bear as they were coming around a turn, basically,” said Tom Timmel, the operations manager for Alaska Wildland Adventures. “Gabriele did have bear spray with her and, I think, even attempted to use it. But as it happens in these types of situations, sometimes, it was very quick and the bear was surprised.”
After dialing 911, it was determined that the best plan of action would be to transport Gabrielle by a private watercraft for a 20-minute ride across Skilak Lake to the Upper Skilak Boat Landing. When they arrived, a medical helicopter met them and flew Markel the remaining 70 miles to Anchorage.
The bear was long gone by the time the lodge staff arrived to help Markel. It is not currently known if the wildlife officials will pursue the bear.
“We do see bears occasionally on the trail,” Timmel said, “but it’s not one where we’re constantly on the lookout. In Alaska, there are bears.”
Ken Marsh, spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, explained the proper protocol to follow if you stumble upon a bear.
“Go ahead and fall into a fetal position, cover your head and face and neck the best you can and try to stay still,” Marsh said. “Once the bear realizes you’re not a threat, generally they’ll go ahead and leave.”
[Photo via Shutterstock]