In North Bend, Washington a mountain lion attacked two people who were mountain biking near mid-day on Saturday. The attack left one person dead and the other person injured.
According to a Fox 6 Now report, the cougar ran away into the woods in the area after attacking, and authorities with the Washington Department of Fish and Game searched for the animal.
The survivor, a 31-year-old man, is in a Seattle hospital in serious condition, but he’s alert and awake. Around 11 a.m. he called 911 for help, but the call was short. When authorities arrived, they found the mountain lion standing over the body of the deceased. CBS News reported that the cougar escaped when officials attempted to approach it.
Around 4:30, authorities located and euthanized the mountain lion responsible for the biker’s death, according to KIRO 7.
In Washington, cougars are the biggest members of the cat family, and people make hundreds of calls to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to report sightings of the felines. It’s possible that an increasing human population could cause mountain lions to be displaced, which leads to more interactions between the feral cats and people.
Until today’s attack, the number of recorded fatal mountain lion attacks in North America was 25 according to a Wide Open Spaces report. The first deadly attack recorded happened in 1890 in Siskiyou, California in Quartz Valley. Ten of the previous 25 victims were ages 10 or under. Of note, fatal cougar attacks picked up in the 1990s, and six people died as a result in that decade.
Jimmy Fehlhaber, age 13, was the last recorded fatality from a cougar in Washington. He was killed in Olema in 1924.
Such attacks remain rare, and typically occur as a result of people either cornering a cat or attempting to flee or play dead. The last recorded cougar related fatality before today’s was Robert Nawojski, 55. On June 24, 2008, searchers found his remains near his mobile home in Pinos Altos, New Mexico. Authorities believed the attack had occurred several days prior.
For now, there’s no word on what happened ahead of today’s attack, and it’s unclear whether the two bikers were riding together or happened to be in the same area at the same time.