Bicyclist confronts 500-pound bear and survives, Alaska officials say

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A bicyclist confronted a 500-pound bear in Alaska, telling authorities that he yelled and kicked at it after the bear charged toward him along a riverbed, officials said.

The incident occurred Tuesday about 9:30 a.m. in Cantwell, near where the Jack River meets the Nenana River, the Alaska Department of Public Safety said a statement.

The male victim, who was not identified, told investigators he was riding a bicycle along the riverbed when he saw the brown bear coming toward him from about 15 yards away, officials said.

He jumped off his bike and began yelling at the bear. As it approached, the victim fell to the ground and covered his head, officials said. He told authorities he believed he kicked at the bear.

“The bear made contact and bit” the victim just below his right knee, the statement said.

After the bear bit him, it retreated into vegetation, the victim told investigators, adding that he was able to walk to a nearby highway and call a friend for help. He was treated for puncture wounds and a laceration, officials said.

Officials said the victim believed the bear was alone before the mauling and saw bear tracks in the snow. The victim was carrying a firearm but did not fire it, authorities said.

It is not the first time someone has decided to stand up to a bear this year.

Southern California teen Hailey Morinico pushed an American black bear off a wall after it got into an encounter with dogs at the family's home. The incident in the foothills in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles, was caught on home surveillance video.

There have been multiple bear encounters in Alaska this year.

In September, a hunter was injured when a grizzly bear mauled him in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, officials said.

The man, Jason Long, 39, of Eagle River, was alone near the Chisana River when a bear and her two cubs attacked him, the National Park Service said. The hunter called for help using a distress signal, prompting the Air National Guard and the park service to coordinate a rescue mission. Authorities found Long with lacerations and puncture wounds. He was taken to multiple facilities for treatment, the park service said. It was unclear how severe his injuries were; authorities said he was stable.

In August, a tourist from Indiana was injured by a grizzly bear at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The victim used bear spray that may have cut the attack short, the park service indicated.

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