A young woman from Hay River, N.W.T., was flown to hospital in Edmonton after she was attacked and injured by a bear early Friday morning.
Witness Roy Helmer says it happened just outside his home at Saskatoon Drive and Cranberry Crescent and that he managed to fight the animal off and rescue the victim.
“It was horrifying. It really was,” Helmer said.
Helmer said he was woken at about 3 a.m. by his common-law partner who had heard screams outside.
“So she looked out here and right up here on our deck, and the bear was on top of the girl,” Helmer said, adding he isn’t sure what led up to that.
“I was yelling and screaming because I just woke up in a panic.”
Helmer said the bear dragged the victim off of the deck and began mauling her “aggressively.”
He says he grabbed a cement statue and went after the animal.
“So I picked that up and I run over there and I nailed it. And it backed off just enough for me to grab [the victim’s] feet and drag her to the bottom of the steps and get her up and into my place,” he said.
“I’m just so thankful I saved her life.”
Helmer says he doesn’t know where the bear went after that.
Glenn Smith, the town’s senior administrative officer, confirmed in an email to CBC on Friday that emergency workers responded to a bear attack at about 2:50 a.m.
He said medical attention was provided, but offered no further details.
RCMP later confirmed that an “injured female youth” has been transferred to Edmonton for further treatment.
“The bear believed to be involved in the incident was shot and killed by Hay River RCMP members,” a statement from police reads.
Staff from Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) were seen later Friday morning at a nearby wooded area, where police tape had been put up around some trees. The department confirmed on its Facebook page that it was investigating the incident.
ENR says it does not believe there is a risk to the public at this time.
The department also says people should remember the N.W.T. is bear country.
“Bears may be more active in the fall as they are out looking for food to put on weight for hibernation,” reads a statement on Facebook. “When walking in forested areas, please ensure you remain alert and aware of your surroundings.”