Connecticut Teen Fights Off Grizzly Bear attack and Helps Others

This is an amazing story. - Tony

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A student at Staples High School in Westport, attending an outdoor education camp in the Alaskan wilderness, is being credited with using emergency-medical response training learned in his hometown to assist fellow teens mauled in an attack by a mother grizzly bear Saturday night as they hiked through woods 120 miles north of Anchorage.

Samuel Boas, 16, was among seven students rescued by a helicopter after the attack. Two students are in serious condition and two were treated for minor injuries. Boas was not injured, according to reports.

The teen campers, having progressed to the point of being on their own in the Alaskan wilderness, were lined up single file for a river crossing when the grizzly burst into the front of the line, badly mauling two in the group and injuring two more.

The bear was with her cub when she attacked, according to state troopers.

The teens were participating in a 30-day backcountry course conducted by the National Outdoor Leadership School when the attack occurred in the Talkeetna Mountains north of Anchorage. They were rescued early Sunday after activating their emergency locator beacon and tending to the most seriously wounded.

Bruce Palmer, a spokesman for the Lander, Wyo-based NOLS, which leads excursions in Alaska and elsewhere, said the worst injured with bear bite wounds are 17-year-old Joshua Berg of New City, N.Y., and 17-year-old Samuel Gottsegen of Denver. They were being treated at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. Hospital spokeswoman Crystal Bailey said both are listed in serious condition.

Gottsegen said from his hospital bed in Anchorage that he thought “this just can’t be the end” during the mauling on Saturday night.

When the bear broke off the attack, the teens activated a personal locator beacon they carried to be used only for an emergency, Palmer said.

The Rescue Coordination Center operated by the Alaska Air National Guard called troopers around 9:30 p.m. to report the activated signal. A trooper and pilot in a helicopter located the students in a tent shortly before 3 a.m., but decided the two most seriously injured would need a medical transport aircraft with a medically trained crew.

Boas was one of about 15 high school students who graduated last month from the Westport Emergency Medical Service‘s EMR-Plus program. Running from September 2010 to last month, the course provided participants 100 hours of emergency medical response training, and prepared them to aid Westport emergency medical technicians in delivering patient care.

“We give them a tremendous amount of training and we teach them how to use the tools and equipment that we have on the ambulance,” Westport EMS Coordinator Marc Hartog said Monday. “I’m very impressed that Sam was out there in the wild without all those tools, was able to maintain his composure, and was able to improvise and bring his training to the table.”

Source: CT Post

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