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University outdoor studies teacher mauled by bear

Published 19/04/2016

Mr Wagner was leading a group of 11 students and two teaching assistants when he was attacked by a bear with cubs
Mr Wagner was leading a group of 11 students and two teaching assistants when he was attacked by a bear with cubs

A man who teaches classes on the outdoors is in hospital after he was mauled by a bear during a mountaineering lesson in the Alaska Panhandle.

Forest Wagner, 35, of Fairbanks, Alaska, was with a group of 12 students on Mount Emmerich near Haines on Monday when he was attacked, according to University of Alaska Southeast spokeswoman Kate Bausler.

A student hiked down the mountain to get a mobile phone signal and call for help.

Mr Wagner was taken to Providence Hospital in Anchorage, according to a statement from the university.

His condition was not immediately known, but the university said he was stable.

Mr Wagner was leading a group of 11 students and two teaching assistants when he was attacked by a bear with cubs, the statement said. No students were hurt.

According to Mr Wagner's teaching schedule, he was due to come down from the mountain by Tuesday.

He has been co-ordinating and teaching in the outdoor studies programme at the university since 2006, according to his biography. He teaches rock and ice climbing, backcountry navigation, glacier travel and mountaineering.

Alaska State Troopers got a call from the Haines Police Department at about noon on Monday. According to their report, they removed Mr Wagner from the mountain by helicopter and put him on another LifeMed helicopter before taking him to a hospital.

The bear was sighted again after the mauling, Ms Bausler said.

The students in the mountaineering class were taken down from the mountain and spent the night in Haines with another professor. Haines is about 90 miles (145km) north of Juneau and accessible only by air or sea.

Students were scheduled to take a ferry back to Juneau on Tuesday, Ms Bausler added.

Mr Wagner is the second man to be attacked by a bear in Alaska within days.

A 77-year-old bear hunter is recovering from injuries suffered when he was mauled by a grizzly in interior Alaska.

On Monday, troopers said hunter Glenn Bohn, of Wasilla, was attacked by the bear near Mile 68 of the Denali Highway just after 1.30pm on Friday.

The 135-mile (217km) road runs east to west and connects the Richardson and Parks highways east of Denali National Park.

Mr Bohn's hunting partner killed the bear. Mr Bohn was driven by snowmobile to the Denali Highway where a LifeMed Alaska helicopter flew him to a hospital in Anchorage.

Wildlife troopers, employees of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and friends of Mr Bohn removed the bear from the field on Saturday.

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