A 55-year-old Utah man has died after likely being gored by a bison, according to local NBC affiliate KSL-TV.
The incident was uncovered by two women who came across "a lone trail runner ... calling out for help" on Antelope Island's lakeside trail and called 911, explained a press release from Utah State Parks. Park personnel then administered first aid and arranged for a medical helicopter to transport the "injured man" to University of Utah hospital.
His "critical" injuries were "consistent with a possible bison encounter," but there were no witnesses to confirm, according to the release, which added that the incident was still under investigation.
KSL-TV reported that the call for help came in around 10 a.m. Saturday and that the man was found about a mile from where he’d parked his car in an area that's frequented by bison.
"He was certainly injured," Eugene Swalberg, public affairs coordinator for Utah State Parks, told KSL-TV. "We don’t know how long he’d been lying there. He certainly had injuries consistent with a goring, but ... we cannot definitively say that’s what happened."
The man also sustained lacerations consistent with being thrown by a bison.
"There was a hat near this individual and also some earbuds," Swalberg said. “Was he running with earbuds and spooked a bison? That’s entirely possible. We just don’t know the circumstances, but he does have wounds and injuries consistent with a goring ... and maybe if he was thrown, lacerations from the rocks.”
The man, whose name has not been released publicly, died on Saturday night, a family friend told KSL-TV. TODAY reached out to Utah State Parks for comment but did not immediately hear back. The friend said the man ran on Antelope Island regularly.
The day before the attack, the official Instagram account for Antelope Island State Park posted a warning alongside a picture of a bison.
"Out for a Thursday morning work related stroll and ran into this guy. Always keep an eye on your surroundings and give animals a lot of distance," read the caption.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, bison can weigh up to a ton and are agile animals, able to turn quickly, jump high fences and run as fast as 35 miles an hour. You can tell a bison's mood by its tail position. Down and hanging naturally means calm; straight up may mean ready to charge.
This isn't the first bison attack this summer. Earlier this month, a woman in South Dakota was charged by a bison after getting too close to the animal and its calf. The woman was thrown with so much force that she was tossed out of her jeans.
In June, a bison gored a 72-year-old woman trying to take photos in Yellowstone National Park, and in July, a woman successfully avoided a bison attack by playing dead when the animal charged at her and a companion.