Hikers attacked by brown bear in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two hikers were recovering Thursday from a brown bear attack in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

Gary Titus and Ellen Snoeyenbos, both 47, were hiking in dense brush Wednesday afternoon in the Twin Lakes area of the park when the bear suddenly appeared.

National Park Service officials said the bear grabbed Titus' left leg and dragged the Soldotna man to the ground. The bear dropped Titus and lunged toward Snoeyenbos, grabbing her left boot. As the animal began to drag her, Titus hit it on the nose.

Park Service spokeswoman Jane Tranel said the bear released Snoeyenbos, bit Titus's right hand and ran away. Titus then noticed the bear was with a cub.

The hikers made their way to Titus' cabin near the lake, then boated to the Park Service's patrol cabin. The two were flown to Anchorage Wednesday night for treatment.

Titus sustained severe injuries to his leg and hand. He underwent surgery Thursday at Alaska Regional Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition. Snoeyenbos, who lives in Gardiner, Mont. and is working in Alaska this summer, was treated for a bruised foot and released.

Tranel said the bear was protecting its cub. She reminded people to avoid dense brush and make plenty of noise while hiking.

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