A forestry worker suffered serious injuries in what a conservation officer characterized as a “major attack” by a grizzly bear in a remote logging camp north of Vancouver Island in Canada.
Ryan Arsenault, who works as an engineer for Capacity Forest Management, was savagely attacked Wednesday afternoon near Rivers Inlet at Draney Inlet about 250 miles northwest of Vancouver, British Columbia, according to the Vancouver Sun and CBC News.
Arsenault, in his 30s, sustained tissue and muscle damage to his left arm, a broken right leg and a severe laceration to his head. He was airlifted to Victoria General Hospital where he underwent surgery Thursday.
— The Vancouver Sun (@VancouverSun) March 24, 2017
Larry Fedorkie, vice-president of CFM, said the incident has been difficult for Arsenault’s wife and two daughters, “but knowing he’s going to survive, there’s comfort in that.”
The circumstances surrounding the mauling are under investigation, but what is known is that a nearby coworker immediately came to Arsenault’s rescue, using bear spray to deter the grizzly.
“His quick actions certainly saved [Arsenault’s] life,” Fedorkie told the Vancouver Sun.
Forestry workers were evacuated from the area and given trauma counseling as conservation officers and biologists went to the area to assess public safety and determine whether to put down the grizzly, which just emerged from hibernation.
Bears usually leave their winter dens in March and April.
“Bears don’t typically look at humans as prey items,” Scott Norris, conservation officer with the B.C. Conservation Service, told the Vancouver Sun. “They emerge hungry, obviously, any bear does … but you don’t want to jump to the conclusion that the bear’s hungry and it attacked an individual.”
Norris also said it’s “never cut and dry that a bear will be destroyed because it attacked someone.”