US army sergeant dies after being savaged by bear in Alaska training exercise

A US Army sergeant died after he was savaged by a bear in a military training area in Alaska.

The force identified the remains of Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant, 30, who was pronounced dead at a hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska following the mauling on Tuesday.

The Army said a second soldier also sustained injuries during the attack, but survived.

Plant, from Saint Augustine, Florida, had been at the military base, just outside Alaska's biggest city, since July last year.

Lt. Col. David J. Nelson, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment commander, said Plant “always had a smile on his face, he always went above and beyond what was asked of him, and he served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege to know him.”

Cyndi Wardlow, a regional supervisor with the department, said information gathered so far suggests this was a “defensive attack by a female bear protecting her cubs.”

“We are trying to learn everything we can about what happened to increase public safety around wildlife in Alaska,” she said in the statement.

Plant was an infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

The Army says the mauling is being investigated while the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said a den with two brown bear cubs was found nearby.

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After the attack, a brown bear approached the area again and officials who responded to the mauling used bear spray before it made off, the statement said.

Hair collected during an initial investigation into the attack was consistent with a brown bear, the department added.

The department said it can kill bears that are considered public safety threats.

It said that game cameras the department placed during its investigation indicated that an adult bear had returned to the area and left the den site with the cubs.

The location of the bear that was involved in the Tuesday attack was unknown, the department said.

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