UAS teacher mauled by bear on student outing

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Monday, April 18, 2016 10:55pm
  • News

JUNEAU — A man who teaches classes on the outdoors was mauled by a bear Monday during a mountaineering class in the Alaska Panhandle, according to a university spokeswoman.

Forest Wagner, 35, of Fairbanks, was with a group of 12 students on Mount Emmerich near Haines, Alaska, when he was attacked, according to University of Alaska Southeast spokeswoman Kate Bausler. A student hiked down the mountain to get cell reception and call for help.

Wagner was taken to Providence Hospital in Anchorage, according to a statement from the university. His condition was not immediately available, but the university said he was stable.

Wagner was leading a group of 11 students and 2 teaching assistants when Wagner was attacked by a bear with cubs, the statement said. No students were hurt.

According to Wagner’s teaching schedule, he was scheduled to come down off of the mountain by Tuesday. He has been coordinating and teaching in the outdoor studies program at the university since 2006, according to his biography. He teaches rock and ice climbing, backcountry navigation, glacier travel and mountaineering.

Alaska State Troopers got a call from the Haines Police Department about noon Monday. According to their report, they removed Wagner from the mountain via helicopter and put him on another LifeMed helicopter before taking him to a hospital.

The bear was sighted again after the mauling, Bausler said. The students in the mountaineering class were taken down from the mountain and are spending the night in Haines with another professor. Haines is about 90 miles north of Juneau and accessible only by air or sea.

Students are scheduled to take a ferry back to Juneau on Tuesday, Bausler said.

Wagner is the second man attacked by a bear in Alaska within days.

A 77-year-old bear hunter is recovering from injuries suffered when he was mauled by a grizzly in interior Alaska.

Troopers on Monday said hunter Glenn Bohn of Wasilla was attacked by the bear near Mile 68 of the Denali Highway just after 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

The 135-mile road runs east to west and connects the Richardson and Parks highways east of Denali National Park.

Bohn’s hunting partner killed the bear. Bohn was driven by snowmobile to the Denali Highway where a LifeMed Alaska helicopter flew him to an Anchorage hospital.

Wildlife troopers, employees of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and friends of Bohn removed the bear from the field Saturday.

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