Grizzly's victim is improving

July 26, 2008 

A woman mauled by a bear Wednesday at the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge is improving, her mother said Friday.

Abi Sisk, 21, moved out of the critical care unit at Providence Alaska Medical Center and will undergo surgery for a broken jaw today, said her mother, Tammy Sisk.

Sisk, a seasonal housekeeper from Utah, was hospitalized Wednesday night after an attack by a brown bear at the lodge in Cooper Landing. She was bitten in the head, buttocks and leg. Her scalp was torn and some of the tissue has died, which could mean several surgeries and grafting procedures will be needed to repair the damage, her mother said.

"God's been very good to us," she said. "We're just going to see how things go."

Sisk had been finishing up a hike after 10 p.m. and was on a trail just yards from the lodge. She bent down to look at flowers, heard growling, and then felt the bear attack. She played dead and the bear let go of her, but she didn't stay down long enough and when she moved, the bear attacked again.

Robert VinZant, a visitor to the lodge from Wasilla, heard her screams and charged the bear, yelling and waving his arms. The bear eventually ran.

On Friday, Abi was eating and talking, her mother said. Doctors will likely send her Outside for further procedures, possibly to Portland or Salt Lake City.

Find Julia O'Malley online at or call 257-4591.

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