Bear Attack Victim Retells Story From Hospital Bed

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Sam Gottsegen, of Denver was in a group of 7 teens in the Alaskan wilderness school that was attacked by a grizzly sow on Saturday. The group was on their first day without adult supervision, their 24th day out of 30. They had just crossed a creek, the first member of their group to make it across, Joshua Berg, yelled "Bear, Bear!" He was the most seriously injured in the group, then Gottsegen the second in the group. Out of the 7 only 3 escaped uninjured, but they still remember the sounds of the attack. Their friends' helpless screams, the growling of the bear as it attacked.

The attack lasted a minute. Too fast for the teens to get their bear spray out, no one had a gun. They said they were yelling as they crossed, but there was a rock cropping there that may have made it difficult for the bear to hear them. Gottsegen was afraid he was going to die. As he lay there he thought of the stuff he would miss, also he thought he should've just played dead. The survival class had taught them to lay down and play dead, but with an angry bear charging he ran.

The other teens did use some of their new learned skills. They put a trash bag in one of Gottsegen's wounds and held it in place with an ace bandage. One of the teens, Noah Allaire, had thought the bear was gone and had started the emergency beacon when the bear attacked him.

"It speaks great volume to their character that they were able to come together like this after such a devastating encounter," Megan Peters, a troopers spokeswoman said. "They came face-to-face with the worst Alaska had to offer, and they're able to say they survived it." From Anchorage Daily News.


groovy mike's picture

pretty scary!

You would think that a group of seven would send any bear packing.   There is no way we'll ever know for sure.  Wild animals are unpredictable and there are innumerable variables that came in to play.  It sounds to me like there were some mistakes made, but there were also some things done right.  

 Mistake number one - " no one had a gun"   Yelling as they crossed was probably a good idea but the sound of moving water may have muffled it. Running was probably not a good idea but teenagers sometimes panic.  


Stopping the bleeding was of course a good primary goal so kudos to the teens for knowing what to do for first aide.  That reflects well on their "wilderness school" instructors.  

Really it is somewhat surprising that no one was killed.   We can all be thankful for that.


deerhunter30's picture

WOW! Good thing that them

WOW! Good thing that them kids new what to do, although it would be tough to try to remember what to do when a bear is charging at you.

It is nice to see kids outin the woods learning about nature. Some people go there whole life without knowing anything about the woods. And they don't know what there missing ou on either.

I am just glad that all these kids made it out alive, I don't know what kind of damage was done but they all made it out and thats what counts. 

GooseHunter Jr's picture

We just keep hearing about

We just keep hearing about more and more animal attacks I am wondering what is going on here and what we can all do to help.  Not sure if there is alot we can do to stop the attack all we can do is maybe just be better prepared and especially now what to do when we are attacked or when we come in contact with wild animals and what we might be able to do to stop an attack from even happening.  Glad to hear everyome made it out and hope they all have a speedy recovery.

arrowflipper's picture

Wow, what is this

Wow! What's up with this rash of animal attacks in the past couple of months? I can't remember ever hearing of so many wildlife - human encounters as just recently. Is there something in the water?

Great to hear of a group of teenagers out in the wilderness, learning survival skills. And this story is amazing. It shows how people band together in times of stress and peril. It's real easy to read accounts like this and say how we might react. I'm not so sure I could lay down and play dead with a big old sow grizz breathing down my neck. The one time I had a black bear sow charge me, I didn't lay down and play dead.... I went backwards.

I saw that they mentioned how it was the first day the kids were alone. Do you wonder if the outcome would have been any different had the adults been there? From the sounds of it, the kids did a pretty impressive job of saving lives. I wonder what it was that finally caused the bear to leave them alone.

I'd also like to hear more about the program they were in. After the dust has settled, KUDOS to the teens!

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Wow, even more increadible

Wow, even more increadible after hearing it from one of the people in the group.

It's great to see that when and after the grizzly attacked, the kids appear to have stuck to their training.  You wonder if what they did saved one or 2 of the lives of their friends.

I wonder also if the yelling, in this case, may have exacerbated the attack.  I know they say, with mountain lions and some bears, to make yourself look big, wave your arms, and make lots of noise.  But, in the case of a mother grizzly, could she have been startled and mistaken them for someone or something attackign her cubs?  It would be interesting to know if when the first kid yelled "Bear, Bear" if she was already approaching, or she attacked after.

Any alaska guys, would you yell at a mom, or try to sneak away?  Most likely, it was a bang bang thing, and they probably didn't have much time to do anything.