1 dead, 1 injured after mountain lion attack on mountain bikers near North Bend
NORTH BEND, Wash. -- A man is dead and another was taken to Harborview Medical Center on Saturday afternoon after a highly unusual fatal mountain lion attack near North Bend east of Seattle in the Cascades, according to the King County Sheriff's Office.
The 31-year-old man taken to the hospital is currently awake, alert and and was upgraded from serious to satisfactory condition as of Saturday evening, Harborview spokesperson Susan Gregg said.
The mountain lion was tracked and killed.
The Sheriff's Office said the two men were mountain biking Saturday morning down a remote road when they came in contact with the mountain lion.
The mountain lion mauled one of the men and turned to the second man and started mauling him.
That was when the first victim got up and managed to ride nearly two miles on his bike to get cell reception to call 911 at about 11 a.m. He was then taken to the hospital.
Law enforcement rushed to the area near Lake Hancock Road and Tolt Reservoir Road and found the cougar standing over the other man's body. Officials say they shot at it and it ran away.
The man found was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Sheriff's Office said about 4 p.m. Saturday that Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife found and killed the mountain lion that is believed to be responsible for the attacks.
Steve Mickel is in the area a lot for work and bought a wildlife camera. Three weeks ago, he caught a mountain lion walking through the same area. He's not sure if it is the same one, but he says there is no shortage of wildlife in the area.
"Realize that wow, there are things out here that are very powerful and this is their space, you just have to respect that," Mickel said.
Captain Alan Myers with Fish and Wildlife says the two men didn't do anything to provoke the animal.
"It sounds like they were just riding bikes when of the victims hears a scream from his partner and sees they're being chased by a cougar," Myers said.
The men then fought it off once, swinging their bikes and the mountain lion ran back in the woods.
"Make a lot of noise, which is exactly what we tell people to do. Don't run, whatever you do, don't run, throw things at it, make noise. It sounds like that's what they started doing initially."
But then, officials say as the men were trying to understand what just occurred, the mountain lion attacked again.
The man who survived said he had his entire head in the mountain lion's mouth, but then his friend ran away and the animal chased him. That is when the survivor made his bike ride to call 911.
Fish and Wildlife said this is only the second mountain lion attack death in Washington state in the last 100 years.