Skip to main Content

Troopers identify guides mauled by bear near Sitka

  • Author: Jerzy Shedlock
  • Updated: August 23, 2016
  • Published August 22, 2016

Alaska State Troopers have identified the two wilderness guides mauled by a brown bear in Southeast.

Anna Powers, 41, of Hawaii and Michael Justa, 26, of Juneau encountered the bear and a cub at close range Thursday on Sitkoh Creek Trail on Chichagof Island, about 30 miles north of Sitka.

The guides were leading a group of 22 tourists from the small cruise ship Wilderness Explorer, operated by their employer UnCruise Adventures, when they got caught between the sow and its cub. Powers was mauled first, and Justa was injured moments later when he deployed bear spray against the sow, troopers reported.

Justa was treated and released in Sitka while Powers was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, officials said.

Powers' condition has been upgraded from serious to satisfactory, said Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg. She is no longer in the intensive care unit, Gregg said Monday.

Wilderness Explorer continued its trip after the mauling, proceeding along the Inside Passage before returning to Sitka on Saturday morning, said UnCruise director of communications Sarah Scoltock.

The ship did not place new guides on the ship for the remainder of the trip, Scoltock said.

"The ship was anchoring out in wilderness areas, so there was no port call made to take on extra crew," Scoltock said.

She said she was unable to discuss the guides by name or give an update on Justa because the guides asked for privacy.

Local news matters.

Support independent, local journalism in Alaska.