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Grizzly bear attack: B.C. man suffers broken bones, airlifted to Calgary hospital

A man tracking a bear in the Kootenays this week was attacked by a grizzly bear.

The incident happened Thursday afternoon, south of the small community of Elkford, B.C., which is about a two-hour drive northeast of Cranbrook and is close to the Alberta border.

Elk Valley RCMP say a father and son, with dogs, had been tracking a bear on a steep mountainside, not far from Highway 43, when the grizzly suddenly appeared.

Click to play video: 'B.C. man recounts bear attack survival story at University of Lethbridge'

B.C. man recounts bear attack survival story at University of Lethbridge

The younger man, a 36-year-old resident of nearby Sparwood, suffered numerous injuries, including broken bones and lacerations.

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“The man was able to defend himself with his firearm and the bear ran off,” said police. “The other man, his father, called for help.”

A helicopter was used to airlift a man who was attacked by a grizzly bear. An air ambulance was then used to send him to a hospital in Calgary. Elkford Search and Rescue

RCMP say they, B.C. Ambulance, conservation officers, the fire department plus search and rescue responded.

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A helicopter rescue was required, Highway 43 was temporarily shut down, and the man was airlifted to Elkford, where he was then subsequently airlifted to Calgary Foothills Hospital.

Police say he was in stable condition at the time.

Click to play video: 'Family of Alberta fatal bear attack victims shares memories'

Family of Alberta fatal bear attack victims shares memories

“All remaining personnel were able to exit the location without other contact with the animal, which remained at large,” said police.

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Conservation officers were sent to search for the possibly injured bear, which was found dead near the scene at around 9 p.m.

Police thanked those involved in the man’s rescue.

Elkford Search and Rescue was involved in Thursday’s incident at 3 p.m., around three km south of Elkford, with search manager Kevin Atherton saying crews knew exactly where the subject was.

“This person was several hundred metres into the bush. So they needed some assistance to extract him, get him to safety and get him medical attention,” Atherton told Global News.

He said both Fernie Search and Rescue plus Sparwood Search and Rescue also assisted. In all, he estimated there were 20 search and rescue members on scene.

“It’s really satisfying, once the subject gets (airlifted) and gets transferred (to an air ambulance), it’s a big sigh of relief,” said Atherton.

“And then we start demobilizing and winding down and debriefing.”

Atherton added that if you are venturing out into the backcountry, don’t be afraid to call 911 for help if you need it.

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