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Bear mauls 3 in Glacier Park

Emergency personnel at Scalplock Lookout Trailhead in Glacier Park tend to an unidentified woman who was mauled by a grizzly bear Friday. Photo by CHRIS PETERSON of the Hungry Horse News

By BETSY COHEN of the Missoulian

In a separate incident, man falls to death on Going-to-the-Sun Road

Death and fear visited Glacier National Park on Friday, a day in which one man died in a fall and three people survived bear maulings.

A 74-year-old North Carolina man died after he fell about 250 feet off Going-to-the-Sun Road, about two miles east of Logan Pass, said David Eaker, public affairs assistant for the park.

Harold Addison of Greensboro had stopped along the road with his wife and another couple to take photographs when he apparently got too close to the road's edge and slipped, Eaker said. The accident happened at 2:30 p.m.

Earlier in the day, a sow grizzly bear mauled three people in two separate incidents in what are believed to be surprise encounters in the southeast corner of the park.

The attack came 32 years to the date after two park employees were mauled to death by grizzlies.

The two men and a women attacked Friday are in stable condition at Kalispell Regional Medical Center and none of their injuries are life threatening, Eaker said.

The maulings occurred in two separate incidents around noon on the Scalplock Lookout Trail about four miles from the Walton Ranger Station, Eaker said.

Two maintenance workers on horseback came upon the first injured person, a 42-year-old Bruce Gillis of Philadelphia as he stumbled down the trail. The workers were on their way to the lookout to perform seasonal repairs.

The injured hiker told the men he surprised a bear as he was walking alone on the trail, Eaker said. The park workers were able to bandage some of the man's injuries - numerous puncture wounds, lacerations, and a severely damaged left arm.

The two other hikers who were mauled - a 45-year-old man from New Hampshire and 35-year-old woman from Maine - caught up with the maintenance crew as they were slowly bringing Gillis down the trail on horseback, Eaker said.

At that point, one of the maintenance workers took Gillis to the Walton Ranger Station to get more help, while the other worker accompanied the injured couple down the trail.

The New Hampshire man received a bite on the back and some lacerations, and his companion received numerous puncture wounds, a bite to the buttocks and a knee injury, Eaker said.

Although the incidents remain under investigation, Eaker said it appears the same bear attacked all three hikers.

"We believe it was a female grizzly with a cub," Eaker said. "We don't know how far apart the parties were but we assume at this point the grizzly and her cub ran up the trail after the first encounter and ran into the other party," he said.

The Scalplock Lookout Trail will remain closed until park bear managers interview the hikers about the incident.

Eaker said the bear attacks are the first in the park this season.

"We never suggest hiking alone," Eaker said. "It is a wild area and these things happen."

Exactly 32 years ago, two grizzly bears attacked hikers in separate incidents in the park.

On Aug.13, 1967, one grizzly killed a female park employee camped near the Granite Park Chalet and another grizzly killed another female employee camped near Trout Lake.

"It's sheer coincidence," Eaker said. "If anything, this is the busiest time of the year, one of the most highly visited times of the park and the odds of attacks increase."

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