Two women were left with critical injuries in a black bear attack near Dawson Creek Monday evening.
Dawson Creek RCMP said officers and paramedics were called to the Bear Mountain Cross Country Ski Club trails shortly before 7 p.m. to reports of the 30-year-old and 48-year-old victims under attack and unaccounted for.
According to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS), the victims were among a family of four hiking on the trails when they ran into the bear, who charged them.
The COS said when the group turned to run, the bear pursued them, attacking one of the women and injuring the second woman and a teenage boy who tried to help.
Two Mounties on an off-road vehicle found the victims critically injured in a bush, with a large boar black bear lingering nearby, RCMP said.
“Several attempts were made to scare the bear off, however it remained and would not leave the vicinity of the victims,” RCMP said in a media release.
“Officers believed the bear to be guarding the victims, so discharged a rifle, striking the bear and killing it.”
Police transported the victims out of the trail network and handed them off to paramedics.
One victim was transported to a hospital in Edmonton, according to the COS.
BC Emergency Health Services said it deployed two ground ambulances, which transported patients to hospital in critical condition. The extent of the teen’s injuries was not immediately clear.
The COS said officers remained at the attack site and were investigating. It said no other bears were found in the area, and that a necropsy is scheduled for the bear involved in the attack later on Tuesday.
The area remains closed to the public.
RCMP is reminding backcountry users to stay “bear aware,” to travel in groups with noisemakers such as bells, to carry bear spray and to avoid hiking during sunrise and sunset when animals are most active.
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