Wild bear attacks woman in Kern County

PIUTE, Calif. Officials say that the bear suddenly attacked and mauled the woman. She suffered lacerations to her head and face. County fire spokesman Sean Collins says the woman was attacked about 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Somehow during the attack officials say miraculously she managed to get away from the bear. She was able to walk to her car and drive a few miles to the nearby fire station for help.

Fire crews provided medical care until she was flown to UCLA Medical Center. Officials have not commented how severely the woman was injured.

But because of the threat of infection from such attacks, they are taking her injuries very seriously.

August Dunning says that the victim is a local resident and a close friend of his. He says that bears have been driven into where he and other residents live, which is near the site of a recent wildfire that destroyed more than 37,000 acres in about three weeks.

"She is a very close friend of mine. And I am at big odds with this. I understand the destruction of habitat and the protection of wildlife, yet here we have a situation where we've got an animal that has obviously drawn blood. So I hope that Fish and Game take care of it," said Dunning.

"I am not worried about the bears at all. They don't hurt nobody, unless one was wounded or something from the fires. They are not going to attack people or nothing," said Piute resident Tim Lange.

Eyewitness News Reporter Leo Stallworth: "Why do you think the bear attacked this woman?"

"Maybe she got in between her and her cub. Maybe that was it," said Lange.

Her two dogs were injured as well, but they survived.

Fish and Game officials say that black bears frequent the Piute mountain area and rarely attack people.

They say that there have only been about 10 attacks in the last 10 years. Officials say that they do not know why that bear attacked the victim, but they say until it is caught they caution residents in the area to be very careful.

Eyewitness News Reporter Jovana Lara contributed to this report.


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