Hiker attacked by bear on Appalachian Trail

Looking southeast from Spence Field (el. 4,950/1,508 meters) in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Little Tennessee River watershed is below. (Brian Stansberry/Creative Commons)

ROBBINSVILLE, N.C. (WATE) – A hiker is in the hospital after the National Park Service said he was attacked by a bear.

Dana Soehn, with the National Park Service, said a 49-year-old man was sleeping in a tent by the Spence Field Shelter. At around 11:16 p.m Tuesday., Soehn said the man was bitten on his leg through the tent.

Soehn said the bear was scared and ran away from the camp area before anyone could see it. She said hikers gathered in a nearby shelter for the remainder of the night.

The Spence Field Shelter in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of the southeastern United States. The shelter stands near the junction of the Appalachian Trail and the Eagle Creek Trail, at an elevation of 4,915 ft/1,500m. (Brian Stansberry/Creative Commons)
The Spence Field Shelter in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of the southeastern United States. The shelter stands near the junction of the Appalachian Trail and the Eagle Creek Trail, at an elevation of 4,915 ft/1,500m. (Brian Stansberry/Creative Commons)

Later that night, Soehn said the bear returned and tore through the vacant tent again. She said she had no idea if there was food in the tent.

The 9-1-1 call came in through Graham County, North Carolina. After a horse carried the hiker out of the park, he was taken by Rural/Metro to Blount Memorial Hospital.

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