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Bear Attack Nearly Ends In Tragedy For Teens In Alaska Training Course

Two teenagers are in an Anchorage hospital after a bear attack in the Alaska wilderness over the weekend. Joshua Berg, 17, of New City, N.Y., and Samuel Gottsegen, 17, of Denver were part of a group of seven teenagers who came upon a grizzly bear and her cub near the end of a 30-day backcountry training course.

Denver TV station KMGH interviewed Gottsegen:

"'I thought I was going to die when I was being attacked. I was so scared,' Sam Gottsegen, 17, told 7NEWS from an Anchorage hospital bed Sunday evening."

"The bear bit Gottsegen deeply in the chest, puncturing his lung and breaking ribs. It also gave him a severe bite on the skull. He was initially in critical condition, but stabilized after surgery Sunday afternoon."

The group was taking part in a course taught by the nonprofit National Outdoor Leadership School. The mauling occurred during a portion of the training when the students were hiking on their own, without instructors. The Anchorage Daily News says it was hours before rescue crews located the stricken group:

"The teens started first aid, made a camp and activated a locator beacon the instructors had given them. The Alaska Air National Guard's Rescue Coordination Center received the beacon transmission and notified troopers about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Peters said."

"The troopers' Helo 1 flew from Fairbanks with a pilot and trooper onboard and located the camp about 2:45 a.m., Peters said."

The AP reports Victor Martin, 18, of Richmond, Calif., who was also injured in the attack, was treated for a bite above his ankle and released. Noah Allaine, 16, of Albuquerque, N.M., remained in a Palmer, Alaska, hospital in good condition with undisclosed injuries.

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