US paratrooper mauled to death by brown bear in Alaska named

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File image: Brown bear (Bergadder / Pixabay)
File image: Brown bear (Bergadder / Pixabay)

A US paratrooper who was mauled to death in a bear attack in an Alaska military training camp has been identified.

In a statement, the US Army said Staff Sgt Seth Michael Plant, 30, was pronounced dead at a hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage following the bear mauling on Tuesday.

Another soldier received minor injuries in the attack in a training area west of the Anchorage landfill.

Sgt. Seth Michael Plant (AP)
Sgt. Seth Michael Plant (AP)

The Army said the mauling is under investigation. Officials at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said evidence pointed towards a “defensive attack by a female bear protecting her cubs”.

A den with two brown bear cubs was found nearby. Officials responding to the attack used bear spray to repel the female bear, and her whereabouts are unknown, they said.

The bear attacked in a remote section of the military base, the department said, with reports suggesting Sgt Plant had been scouting on a possible wilderness training site when stumbling upon the bear den.

"We are trying to learn everything we can about what happened to increase public safety around wildlife in Alaska," Cyndi Wardlow, a regional supervisor with the department, said.

The department added it can kill bears that are considered public safety threats or that are involved in deadly attacks.

The New York Times, quoting an Alaska Wildlife Trooper, said the men were attacked after stumbling on the bear den.

“From the soldier’s perspective, there was a flash of brown mass," Capt Derek DeGraaf told the newspaper. “They were attacked and didn’t even see it coming.”