1 dead, 2 injured in bear attacks at campground near Yellowstone
COOKE CITY, Mont. — At least one bear rampaged through a heavily occupied campground Wednesday near Yellowstone National Park in the middle of the night, killing one person and injuring two others during a terrifying attack that forced people to hide in their cars as an animal tore through tents.
Authorities said three separate attacks left a male dead and a woman and another male injured at the Soda Butte campground. The woman suffered severe lacerations and crushed bones from bites on her arms, and the surviving male was bitten on his calf.
Officials did not release the names or ages of the victims.
Don and Paige Wilhelm of the North Texas town of Aledo were spending the night in the campsite next to the woman.
“We heard a scream about 2,” Don Wilhelm said. “We weren’t sure what it was. We thought maybe teenagers yelling.”
Paige Wilhelm added: “We heard a lady in the tent next door say ‘No.’ I said, ‘Don, there’s a bear,’ and started hearing this snuffling. We heard her say, ‘A bear has attacked me.’”
The couple waited until they could no longer hear the animal breathing before running for their car. Don Wilhelm later helped bandage the woman’s wounds.
Both survivors were hospitalized in Cody, Wyo.
The victims were in three different tents, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Capt. Sam Sheppard. Two of the tents were close to each other. The male who was killed was alone in a tent about a quarter-mile away in the heavily occupied campground that has 27 sites for tents and recreational vehicles, he said.
Campers throughout the site had their food in storage boxes, Sheppard said.
“They were doing things right,” Sheppard said. “It was random. I have no idea why this bear picked these three tents out of all the tents there.”
Wildlife officials were inspecting the campground to determine what happened.
“We don’t know if it was one bear, two bears, a black bear or grizzly bear,” Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said. “Will it come back tonight? That’s the question.”
Authorities set five baited traps and were collecting evidence to determine the type and number of bears involved.