A bear attack in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina this past weekend has park officials on high alert.
The victim of a recent North Carolina bear attack, a teenager, who has been identified as Gabriel Alexander of Ohio, was pulled from his hammock as he slept near his father this past Saturday night. Alexander’s father was reported to have driven the bear off and likely saved his son’s life.
Park officials reported that the pair had been on a backpacking trip, and that they had properly hung food and supplies with aerial storage cables.
Among multiple injuries were bites and cuts to Gabriel’s head. Father and son were able to make their way out of the remote backcountry area near Hazel Creek, and found the shoreline of Fontana Lake. Once there, some campers on a boat transported the pair to a nearby boat dock where an EMS team from Graham County took over.
At last report Alexander is stable and doing well. He never lost consciousness during the attack, and due to his father’s quick actions, likely escaped a far worse scenario.
Park spokesperson Dana Soehn told reporters Sunday that this was the ninth incident with a bear this year.
Black bear attacks are often reported to be predation; unless they are protecting young or encountered in tight quarters, while grizzly attacks are often very painful bluffs. Experts say if a grizzly grabs you the best tactic is to play dead, however, the same experts advise to fight a black bear with everything you have, as it is likely viewing you as prey.