A US soldier in a military training area in Alaska was attacked by a bear and is dead.
The U.S. Army identified the soldier who was torn to pieces Tuesday as Staff Sgt Seth Michael Plant, 30. Plant was pronounced dead at a Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson hospital in Anchorage.
Another soldier sustained minor injuries in the bear attack, which took place in a remote area of the military base west of the Anchorage landfill.
A cave with two brown bear cubs was discovered near the site, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. A brown bear went to the area after the attack, and officers used bear spray to deter it, causing it to leave, the department said.
Officials collected hair from the site of the attack that matched the brown bear seen later. It appeared to be a ‘defensive attack from a female bear protecting her cubs’, said a departmental regional supervisor, Cyndi Wardlow.
Game cameras installed as part of the investigation showed an adult bear returning to the area and then leaving its cave with its young. The bear’s whereabouts were not known after the attack.
“We’re trying to learn everything we can about what happened to increase public safety around wildlife in Alaska,” Wardlow said.
The department can kill bears that are involved in fatal attacks or are considered threats to the public.
Plant, Saint Augustine, Florida, was stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson beginning in July 2021. He served as an infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
He ‘has always had a smile on his face, he always went beyond what was asked of him and he served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing him’, said Lieutenant Colonel David Nelson from the same regiment.
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