Seattle resident Julia Stafford was bitten in the hand and dragged by a grizzly bear on Sunday, near Tangle Lakes about 20 miles north of the Denali Highway, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports. This year numerous bear attacks have occurred across Southcentral and Interior Alaska -- most recently, the fatal mauling of a San Diego man at Denali National Park and Preserve, the first such fatality in the park’s modern history.
In the case of Stafford, the 20-year-old had traveled to Alaska to work for Canadian mineral exploration company Pure Nickel Inc. She was collecting rock samples with a male co-worker when around 1:30 p.m. Sunday a bear walked out of a foggy ravine with two cubs.
“We started walking uphill to get away from it and it started walking toward us,” Stafford told the News-Miner. “We stopped once we saw it was following us and tried to get the bear spray out but by then it was already running toward us.”
The attack happened in a matter of seconds, Stafford reported. The bear knocked both her and a co-worker to the ground. They played dead. That’s when the bear bit her hand and dragged her over the rocks.