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Man airlifted to Foothills hospital after bear attack in B.C. Rockies: RCMP

A British Columbia man was airlifted to a Calgary hospital Thursday after fending off a grizzly bear attack on a mountainside in the Rocky Mountains near the B.C.-Alberta border, according to RCMP.

Police said a father and son were tracking a bear west of Highway 43 south of Elkford, B.C., when the 36-year-old son was “attacked suddenly by an adult grizzly bear” around 3 p.m. PT.

“The man was able to defend himself with his firearm and the bear ran off,” while his father called for help, Elk Valley RCMP said in a news release Friday morning.

The man, who police said lives in nearby Sparwood, B.C., suffered several injuries, including broken bones and cuts and scrapes on his body, the release said. 


Efforts to rescue the man by local fire crews, RCMP, paramedics, wildlife officers and search and rescue (SAR) crews were complex due to the steep terrain, the release said.

Sparwood and Elkford SAR members helped move the injured man 200 metres down the mountainside, where he was lifted into a hovering helicopter via a long line, police said.

The man was flown to a helipad in Elkford, where a STARS air ambulance then flew him to Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, around 130 kilometres to the northwest, police said. Highway 43 was briefly closed as emergency services considered landing locations for the aircraft.

The release said the man was in stable condition when he left the scene. CBC News has contacted STARS for more information.

B.C. conservation officers who searched for the bear found it dead around 9 p.m., according to RCMP.

“Thank you to the many personnel, both volunteer and paid, who worked together to conduct a successful rescue,” Sparwood Search and Rescue said in a Facebook post on Thursday evening. 

“And thanks to members of the public for yielding to the numerous emergency vehicles and giving us room to work safely.”

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