IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Alaskan Woman Mauled by Bear While Jogging With Co-Worker

The 20-year-old woman is recovering from the Tuesday night attack.
Get more newsLiveon

An Alaskan woman is recovering after being mauled by a grizzly bear while jogging with a co-worker late Tuesday night, authorities said.

Gabbriele Markel, 20, and Kaitlin Haley, 26, were running on a trail along Skilak Lake, 50 miles south of Anchorage, when an adult grizzly bear came out of the thick brush next to the trail and attacked Markel, knocking her to the ground, police said.

Police told NBC News the two women work at Alaska Wildland Adventures lodge and were about three-quarters of a mile from the lodge.

Police spokeswoman Megan Peters said Haley ran back to the lodge for help while the bear was still on top of Markel.

Haley and several other employees ran back from the lodge, armed with bear spray, and saw Markel walking towards them. The employees transported Markel across the lake via boat and met with emergency officials, Peters said.

"She didn't appear to have life-threatening injuries at the time but they can turn life threatening," Peters said. "It's always important to get them to the hospital as soon as possible."

Markel was airlifted to Providence Hospital and staff told NBC News she was upgraded to good condition Wednesday afternoon.

Peters said they reported the attack to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, a wildlife preserve in Alaska.

Jeff Selinger, Kenai area wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the attack is the first one on the Kenai Peninsula this year. He said there are normally only one to two attacks in the area annually.

"Most of the attacks are surprise encounters, on both ends," Selinger said. "Or the sow (female bear) has cubs."

Police still don't know what prompted Tuesday's attack and Selinger said most of the time, it can be hard to determine.

"We don't know if someone else was up on the trail beforehand and provoked it," Selinger said. "Sometimes they aren't clear."

Selinger added it's always important to bring bear spray if an area is known to have the animals.

"People might of walked a trail 100 times," Selinger said. "But they should still be aware at all times."