By Mark Appleton, Bikeradar.com
A teenaged girl competing in a 24-hour mountain bike event near Anchorage, Alaska has been critically injured in a bear attack. The animal, believed to have been a female Grizzly, struck in darkness at around 1.30am in the town's Bicentennial Park yesterday morning, leaving the un-named victim with bite injuries to her head, torso and thigh as well as a "sucking chest wound." The latter typically occurs when an object penetrates the body and punctures the lung cavity.
Medics, accompanied by shotgun-carrying police officers, entered the park to retrieve the rider. According to the Alaska Daily News, she was found by Peter Basinger, a fellow competitor on the Arctic Bicycle Club event which began at noon local time on Saturday, using an 8 mile loop of groomed trails. Basinger is said to have waited with the girl until rescuers trekked the half mile into the forested park to reach them before she was stretchered back to a waiting ambulance.
The teen, who according to some reports is just 14 years-old, underwent surgery at the Providence Alaska Medical Center and is expected to survive according a spokeswoman for the Anchorage Fire Department.