It really sucks for these kids. I know one of them was from my state of New Mexico. it has been all over the news here. Its just one of those things you really can't stop when it comes to Grizzly sows with cubs.
Another case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You would think since there were on a hike with a experienced leader that they would of been making some noise as they hiked along but then it happened near a river so quite possibly the bear didn't hear them until it was too late for them.
A very tragic event, especially when kids are involved and just out trying to learn instead of getting into trouble somewhere. Hopefully they will fully recover without any serious affects other than the memory. It sounds like they were in some thick brush when it happened and were totally caught by surprise.
It's hard to second guess what really happened. What does surprise me according the Anchorage paper only three or four hikers had bear spray. Other than that it sounds like they were doing what they were suposed to. Sows w/cubs are just to freakin' touchy and unpredictable. I think if the sow had heard them coming she and the cubs would have gone packing.
Yep, as Critter says, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is one of those cases where neither creature, man or Grizzly, is at fault. The kids were out learning about survival, and the bear was thinking about the survival of her cub.
Glad to see that none of them have died yet, but I did hear there were a couple that were life threatening. Hopefully they will pull through.
Understanding wind currents and thermals in hilly, broken terrain can often be incredibly frustrating. I've found that collecting and storing milkweed seed pods during the late summer has made me a better hunter in the bluff country that I hunt. These little feather like seed dispersers will float on the lightest of air currents and will show you what the wind is not only doing right at you're location but more importantly down range. I like to use the off season to float them...