Grizzly Severely Mauls Alaska Bear Hunter

May 17, 2011 12:34:03 AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, May 16 (Reuters) - An Alaska bear hunter who was severely mauled by a grizzly over the weekend has been flown to Seattle in critical condition, authorities said on Monday.

Nome resident Wes Perkins, 54, was listed in critical condition and in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

It was Alaska's first bear attack of 2011, officials with the state Department of Fish and Game said.

"As far as I know, this is the first significant incident of the year," said Gordy Williams, special assistant with the department.

Perkins, a former Nome fire chief, was attacked on Sunday by a large bear that he and two companions were tracking by snowmobile in a hilly area outside of Nome, the Alaska State Troopers said.

Perkins was riding in front of his companion when the bear charged him, trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

The other men in the hunting party shot and killed the bear and called for help by radio, she said.

Perkins was retrieved from the site by helicopter, taken to the Nome hospital and then flown from there for further treatment, Peters said.

The troopers are investigating the incident, she said. (Reporting by Yereth Rosen, Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune)

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