Photo Credits

Brown Bear Sow & Cubs

An Alaskan coastal brown bear and three cubs search for a
productive fishing spot.

Image © Tom Teitz

Major Bear Incident in Alaska

Grizzly Bear

In July of 2011, four National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) students were seriously injured in a Grizzly bear attack. This unusual incident attracted intense international media attention. Unfortunately, many of the initial news stories were inaccurate or provided incomplete information.

Once the 24 hour news cycle passed, some reasonable reporting took place on this incident. All the facts still aren't clear, but linked below are what we feel are the best articles. This is important reading as there are are a lot of potential lessons on both incident prevention and response in this incident.

Outside Magazine - Compelling first hand account by NOLS student Josh Berg as told to Madison Kahn, also includes limited analysis.

Alaska Dispatch: This online news site took an in-depth look at the incident, publishing at least seven articles. Here are two highlights:

Alaska Bear Mauling: NOLS Kids 'Did a Phenomenal Job'
- An overview of the incident pieced together from various accounts with some expert analysis.

Anatomy of an Alaska Bear Mauling Rescue - Explores why the helicopter rescue of critically injured patients took nine hours.

What is your take? Are there reasonable steps that could have been taken to prevent this incident or provide for an improved response? (comment below or on the Outdoor Safety Facebook page)

Posted by

OSI Staff

on 2/7/12
Field SafetyIncidentsOutdoor LeadershipNews


It is eye opening to me that the rescue would take that long. I carry a spot device and I guess I expect help to come quicker.

I’ve hiked in Alaska and each person in our party has always had bear spray accessible or even in their hand. The one article makes it sound like the bear spray was in their packs. That doesn’t make sense to me.

By Elaine Williamson on 02/16/2012 at 01:23 AM

Speak Your Mind

Non-member comments moderated before posting. No spam or unrelated links please. Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.
Articles by Category
Free Resources

10 Steps to Better Risk Management - Free DownloadNew! 10 Steps to Better Risk Management - learn quick safety steps for your program. Download free guide. Go»

OSI Newsletter Icon - Signup for OSI's Free Email NewsletterThe Outdoor Safety Newsletter covers risk management for outdoor activities. Go»

Facebook Outdoor SafetyLike OSI on Facebook for current news & discussion on wilderness risk management. Go»

By OSI's Alex Kosseff AMC Guide to Outdoor Leadership, 2nd Ed AMC Guide to Outdoor Leadership
5 Star Rating
Learn More»

© Outdoor Safety Institute LLC • Terms of Use & Privacy PolicyContact Us