Seward man mauled by bear

Update: Friday

Alaska news sources have reported that the man mauled by a bear Thursday while walking his dogs at the Seward Airport was Ronn Hemstock, a teacher and long-time wrestling coach at Seward High School.

 

Original story:

A Seward man is recovering from injuries he got from being attacked by a brown bear early Thursday morning at the Seward Airport.

Seward police responded to the airport around 6:45 a.m. where the man had been walking his dogs on or near the runway, said Seward Police Chief Tom Clemons.

“We got a call from a (middle-aged) gentleman who advised that he had been mauled by a bear at the airport,” Clemons said.

The man had been able to call the attack in on his cellphone, he said.

It appears the man was mauled by a female brown bear who had two cubs with her, Clemons said. The man was taken to Providence Seward Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, he said.

The Seward Airport was closed for a short period of time while officers searched for the bear, Clemons said. It has since reopened.

Officers contacted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game about the attack, said Ken Marsh, information officer for the department’s Division of Wildlife Conservation.

“We don’t have an office in Seward, so right now … the initial investigation’s being done by the Seward Police and the Alaska Wildlife Troopers,” Marsh said.

Fish and Game will use the information gathered by officers to determine if action needs to be taken, he said.

Right now, it looks like a case of a bear being caught off guard and attacking in a defensive way, he said.

Marsh said this is not an uncommon response for a bear when it is taken by surprise.

“They’ll neutralize the threat, you know, knock it down,” he said.

It is unlikely a bear will attack again in these situations, Marsh said. If information comes to light that gives Fish and Game personnel a reason to think the attack was predatory, the bear would be killed, he said.

This is the second reported bear mauling on the Kenai Peninsula this season, Marsh said. He said there was a report of a person being bitten by a brown bear near Hidden Lake in July. They were treated at a hospital and released, he said.

Marsh said as the sun rises later and sets earlier, it’s important for people to remain “bear aware” and take the same precautions they would during the summer, such as making sure trash is secure and adequately protecting livestock.

“Just be aware that we haven’t had a lot of snow yet and it hasn’t been terribly cold for an extended period of time,” he said, explaining that brown bears will stick around after snow flies as long as there is food readily available.

 

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Kinley Ferguson tells Santa Claus what she wants for Christmas during Christmas in the Park festivities on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Christmas in the Park welcomes the holiday season to Soldotna

Santa headlines celebration with caroling, Nativity, cocoa and fireworks

Children decorate Christmas cookies, part of Christmas Comes to Nikiski festivities on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at Nikiski Community Recreation Center in Nikiski, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Christmas crafts and Santa photos

Nikiski holds start of annual December celebration

A Kenai Peninsula Food Bank truck in the Food Bank parking lot on Aug. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Food Bank fundraiser to auction Legos, offer Santa photos to pets

Bark, Block n’ Bowl will take place on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, seated left, and Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom sign their oaths of office during the inauguration ceremony, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. Dunleavy, a Republican, last month became the first Alaska governor since Democrat Tony Knowles in 1998 to win back-to-back terms. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Dunleavy, Dahlstrom take oaths of office

Gov. Dunleavy was reelected during the Nov. 8 general election

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Fatal collision near Anchor Point closes highway for hours

Troopers received a call about the collision shortly after noon

Members of the Soldotna Elks Lodge #2706, including Exalted Ruler Robert Dixon and Secretary Shannon Woodford (third and fifth from the left) stand with purchased toys and clothes for donation to local children at the lodge in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elks to donate toys and clothes to local kids

Yearlong fundraiser brings in more than $13,000

Portions of the Kenai bluff can be seen eroding below Old Town Kenai in this undated photo. (Photo by Aidan Curtin/courtesy Scott Curtin)
Portions of the Kenai bluff can be seen eroding below Old Town Kenai in this undated photo. (Photo by Aidan Curtin/courtesy Scott Curtin)
Infrastructure dollars flood peninsula

Federal infrastructure bill makes available more than $232M for peninsula projects

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna bumps vote on use of accessory housing as short-term rentals

An accessory dwelling unit is a subordinate, detached dwelling unit located on a lot or parcel with an existing residence

Most Read