Grizzly Bear In Alaska Mauls Teenager Josh Berg Of Rockland County

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A local teenager is fighting for his life after being mauled in Alaska and he’s not the only victim.  Josh Berg of New City was with a group of teens learning survival skills when the grizzly bear attacked.

The teens, ages 16 through 18, were in a group of seven participating in a 30-day backcountry course conducted by the National Outdoor Leadership School when a grizzly bear, walking with her cub, attacked them Saturday night in the Talkeetna Mountains north of Anchorage.

When the bear attacked with sudden speed, it first mauled 17-year-old Berg and then attacked Colorado teenager Sam Gottsegen. Berg suffered life-threatening injuries, but survived an arduous evacuation to an Anchorage hospital, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.

Berg’s parents left their New City home to be with their son, leaving stunned neighbors and his friends praying for the best.

“I couldn’t imagine. The poor kid was probably suffering and it’s sad,” a friend told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

WCBS 880’s John Metaxas In New City

The teens told troopers they were preparing to cross a river around 8:30 p.m. when suddenly the bear burst onto the scene and started attacking.

“I thought I was going to die when I was being attacked. I was so scared. I looked behind me and the bear was behind me, so I started running down the hill and it tackled me on the way down,” Gottsegen said.

Berg may also have saved a fellow student’s life, CBS 2’s Rob Morrison reported.

“There was a sow bear, a mother bear, with a cub, and they just kind of  I guess they just came across the bear, sort of startled it,” the victim’s father, Jon Gottsegen, said. “He got knocked down and it bit him.”

Gottsegen was in bad shape with a punctured lung, broken rips and head and chest wounds. That’s when Berg bravely jumped into the fray.

“Another boy came up and started kicking the bear, you know, to help Sam fight the bear off, and the bear then went away,” said Mindy Gottsegen, the boy’s mother. “So I don’t know who that was, but I’m extremely grateful to that person.”

Both Berg and Gottsegen are listed in serious condition at an Anchorage hospital.

“I could not even imagine, I couldn’t even imagine,” neighbor Diane Brown said of her neighbors’ situation.

“He always talks about going to Alaska. He must be up there at least twice a year.  And he goes up there all the time and it’s almost as if it’s his second home,” Berg’s high school classmate, Brian Foley, told Aiello.

When the bear broke off the attack, the teens activated a personal locator beacon they carried to be used only for an emergency, state trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said. The group was rescued early Sunday.

Samual Boas, 16, of Westport, Conn., who has had training as an emergency medical technician, stayed with the badly injured teens for hours until rescuers arrived in a specially equipped helicopter to transport them to the hospital.

Other students injured in the attack were Victor Martin, 18, of Richmond, Calif., who was treated and released for a bite wound above his ankle, said Bruce Palmer, a spokesman for NOLS. Noah Allaine, 16, of Albuquerque, N.M., remains hospitalized in good condition with unknown injuries.

The teens were in the 24th day of their course when the attack occurred. There was no instructor with them because that far into the course, they’ve learned enough survival skills, Palmer said.

“Our basic goal is that when a student graduates from the NOLS course, they have the experience and background to be able to take other people out into the backcountry,” he said. “We’re training people to be outdoor leaders, basically.”

Calling out to alert bears of human presence and give nearby animals a chance to flee is among the skills learned in the course.

“The students say they were doing that,” Palmer said.

A teenager from Huntington, L.I. was also part of the group. He was unharmed.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Tony Aiello
  • Roger Faulkner

    Grizzly bears trust no-one especially when protecting their young.

  • mike reed

    wrong person,i did’t write that.

  • michael reed

    they’ll be scared

  • bullybully

    well mother bear cub next to her protecting her young not like humans throwing theres away stay out of there place

  • Jose A. Ortiz

    Everyday I read that persons are attack by bears; I don’t understand why they have to go in the wilderness;that is wild animals territory;just go the beach or have a boat ride and enjoy,let the wilderness for the wild animals. I am glad that I will never be attack by a wild animals I only see them on tv

  • Jon

    shotguns can’t really kill a bear. Unless your talking rifle slug shots and all 7 kids are blasting the bear as it charges.


      shotgun won’t kill a bear? LOL

  • michael reed

    hey tough guy b.k.,the bear was probobley on them before they could react.the bear would have taken your gun and stuck it up your a-sssssssss!!!!!!!!

  • bk

    I would think that they would at least have that spray, like pepper spray, with them in case a bear attacked. If it was me I wouldn’t go in without a gun and I’d shoot that bear in a heartbeat. Let’s see how tough those bears are against bullets.

    • LLL

      Wow, you sound live a real “tough” guy. How dumb, bears aren’t attacking a person because they think they are tough, but you sure seem to think you are thinking about killing an animal.

  • Bill

    Kids learning about the wilderness and hiking in the outdoors not harming anyone or anything were nearly killed by bears, and you’re worried about the bears. You were born in the wrong time Jay, the Germans had the most advanced animal rights laws in the world in the 1930″s… They also would be happy to hear “no harm came to the bears’…

  • Jay

    Experience? Well, they’ve now learned the “experience” first hand of a mom bear protecting her little one, she being afraid of humans. Does “wilderness” mean anything to them? Any human that goes into the wilderness like that whether Alaska or Yellowstone Park, etc. is asking for trouble. Either accept trouble will happpen, or don’t go into the wilderness. Don’t go and then realize there maybe bears or wild animals that have a right to protect themselves and own environment. I’m glad no harm came to the bears.

  • Nick

    What kind of twit goes into the Alaskan wilderness without a shotgun?

    Better yet. What kind of irresponsible a hole runs a school that allows kids to romp around the Alaskan wilderness without a shotgun? Especially since the a holes live in Alaska and should have known better?

    • Jay

      WHY the hell should a bear get shot and killed because idiot humans go where they should not? The bear is in its habitat, the humans are not. i’m glad the bears were not harmed. Serves foolish humans right, they have no business going into the wilderness like that, if they do, that’s their stupid problem, not the wild animals, where else are the animals supposed to go?


        So people shouldn’t be allowed in the wilderness? If a wild animal ever attacks you I guess you would just roll over and die. How foolish you are.

  • p8nt

    Imagine how other animals react when humans invade their shrinking environment

  • JMS

    this is the 2nd grizzly bear attack i’ve read about in the past couple of weeks (a man was killed saving his wife at yellowstone). Grizzly bears are beautiful, magestic animals but damn if I’m ever going to walk into their habitat. I remember having bad dreams after watching that move The Edge w/Alec Baldwin & Anthony Hopkins.

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