(2:45 p.m.) -- A brown bear mauled two expedition guides from Un-Cruise Adventures as they led a shore excursion on a trail in Alaska.
The guides were leading a group of 22 cruisers from Wilderness Explorer on a hike on Chichagof Island on Thursday afternoon. The group encountered a brown bear sow and cub about 2.5 miles up the trail when the attack happened, according to a news release from Un-Cruise. All 22 passengers are unharmed.
The injured crew members were evacuated by helicopter from Sitkoh Bay to Sitka hospitals; one has subsequently been transferred to a Seattle hospital. The evacuation took place about 200 yards from the attack, and a medical team from the ship hiked to the scene to help with the evacuation and bring the hikers back to the ship. The company is still working to contact the families of the crew.
All Un-Cruise crew go through wilderness training and bear safety training, including how to avoid bear encounters, the company said. Expedition guides carry bear spray on all excursions off the ship; an article on the incident in the "Alaska Dispatch News" quotes Alaska state troopers as noting the bear retreated because one of the Un-Cruise guides deployed pepper spray.
The cruise is continuing on; support has been made available to passengers, the line said.
--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor