RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A bear spent hours Tuesday eluding authorities in a Bergen County neighborhood before finally being captured, officials said.

The black bear was spotted in the morning near Ridge Elementary School in Ridgewood, which forced school officials to keep students inside.

“When I first came I saw the bear climbing up the tree and I didn’t think it was real and then I saw I was like wow,” Don Joseph, 12, told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

With authorities in pursuit, the bear climbed three different trees. It ran out of the second tree after being blasted with water from a fire hose.

It then ran across the street and through some backyards before scrambling up another tree.

It’s not clear when the bear was shot with the tranquilizer dart, but it began to look very groggy in the tree and then fell safely into a waiting net, officials said. The bear was not injured, authorities said.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, the crowd gasped in horror as the tranquilized bear plummeted more than 30 feet out of the tree.

Animal control officer Carol Tyler quickly eased concerns, saying the bear landed safely in a firefighter’s net.

“He’s fine. We caught him, he didn’t hit the ground hard at all.”

The bear was then loaded onto a state Fish and Wildlife pickup truck, 1010 WINS’ Kevin Rincon reported.

At one point before the bear was nabbed, officials warned a crowd of reporters and residents that the animal might run near them after being tranquilized, urging them not to run or scream because they might attract the bear’s attention.

The bear has been tagged and will be sent back to the wild far away from the neighborhood.

 

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