Coast Guard airlifts wilderness guides mauled by bear in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A man and a woman mauled by a bear in Alaska were airlifted by a Coast Guard helicopter to receive medical treatment.

The two are wilderness guides with UnCruise Adventures, who were leading a group of 22 cruise ship passengers on a nature hike about 30 miles north of Sitka Thursday when they encountered a brown bear sow and a cub about 2.5 miles up the trail.

The two were ultimately mauled, according to Alaska State Troopers.

One of the guides deployed bear spray and the animals eventually retreated.

None of the guests were harmed.

A Coast Guard helicopter found a place nearby to pick up the injured -- who had what the Coast Guard said were "multiple injuries and severe lacerations” --  about 200 yards away from the group.

An UnCruise Adventure medical team hiked to the scene to help with the evacuation and the Coast Guard crew hoisted the man and woman into the chopper. The UnCruise team safely escorted the hiking group back to the ship.

The victims were flown from Sitkoh Bay off Chichagof Island to Sitka hospitals.

After being evaluated there, the male victim was treated and released.

The female guide was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where she is in intensive care in serious condition.

UnCruise Adventures spokesperson Sarah Scoltock said all crew goes through wilderness training and bear safety training, including how to avoid bear encounters.  Expedition guides carry bear spray on all excursions off the ship, Scoltock said.

The Associated Press Contributed to this story.