A Seward, Alaska airport reopened about an hour after a brown bear mauled a man, 55, who was either walking or jogging with his dogs on a runway at the small regional airport before dawn on Thursday morning. A brown bear with two cubs mauled the unidentified man. He was transported to a local hospital with numerous injuries, but none of them were considered to be life-threatening.
FOX News reported that state transportation department spokeswoman Shannon McCarthy said the brown bear may have attacked the man because she was trying to protect her cubs. She added that due to recent flooding, the runway lights at the Seward airport have been under repair.
Signs at the airport warn that trespassing is against the law. The Seward airport, located in the southern part of Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula, is not completely fenced in, though, which probably led the unidentified man to think it was a good place to walk his dogs. The San Antonio Express-News reported the man was attacked on the main runway.
Seward Police Chief Tom Clemons said that the man who was mauled by the brown bear reported the attack using his cellphone at 6:46 p.m. Airport personnel said the bear returned at one point to where she had mauled the man.
However, the brown bear did not attack the man a second time, and just wandered off, according to the Bryan-College Station Eagle. Clemons said that bears are so prevalent they sometimes even come into his front yard.
Seward, Alaska is a city known for fishing and tourism and has a population of more than 2,700. The rural town is located approximately 75 miles from Anchorage.
The Seward airport was constructed “between mountains and the head of Resurrection Bay.” Sightings of both brown and black bears are common in the area. The airport was closed following the attack by the brown bear on the man, but it reopened at approximately 9:30 a.m., according to the San Antonio Express-News, after only around an hour. The control tower at the Seward airport is not staffed, which means that checking the runways to make sure they are clear is left up to the pilots.
Just around an hour after a brown bear in Seward, Alaska, mauled a man walking his dogs down the airport’s main runway, the runway was back open and in business. Police officers will search for the brown bear, according to Clemons; however, he has not decided if the bear will be killed if it is found.
By John Samuels