Confronted by a mother brown bear and her cubs, an Army soldier's wife in Alaska displayed "phenomenal" survival instinct by apparently playing dead, surviving scratching from the bear's claws and then walking two miles to safety, an official said.
Mark Sledge, a conservation law enforcement officer at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, declined to provide the woman's name because she requested anonymity. But he said the woman had been legally running on a gravel road in a remote part of the base Sunday morning.
"She apparently surprised the sow and cubs, and the sow acted defensively and hit her," Sledge said in a video message. "All I can say is, the survival instinct for that woman is phenomenal because the trauma she went through and the walk out was heroic."
He said animals are everywhere in the region and that bears, moose and other animals can be especially defensive during the spring cubbing season. Sometimes, voice commands are enough to calm down the animals. But if that doesn't work, curling into a ball and protecting the back of the head is the best course, he said.
A passerby was able to drive the woman to a hospital, where she was in stable condition, the base said.
Authorities indefinitely halted recreational activities on the base as they wait for the bears to clear the area. The Anchorage Daily News reported that the woman who was mauled had been jogging with her husband, but they had separated. Her injuries included cuts to the neck and arms, the newspaper reported.
The 74,000-acre Anchorage base hosts the Air Force and the Army.