News

Near deadly attack

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A stomping mad Alaska moose/Craig Medred photo

An Eagle River woman remains in the intensive care unit of an Anchorage hospital days after being attacked by a moose.

Her brother, Greg Beck also of Eagle River, said Thursday that doctors told him it is a minor miracle she didn’t die after the enraged animal tried to stomp her into the ground.

“She has more broken ribs than ribs that aren’t broken,” Beck said, and lacerations all over her body from wounds inflicted by the moose’s feet.

“She had lots and lots of sutures,” Beck said. “They were suturing her up for hours.”

The attack happened in the Eaglewood subdivision in a suburb just north of Alaska’s largest city Monday evening. Beck said he lives near Eaglewood, and first learned about the attack when Anchorage Police called him to come get his sisters dogs.

When he got to Eaglewood, he said, paramedics were still waiting for police to chase the moose away from his sister so they could get to her.

“It was pretty rough,” he said.

His sister lost a lot of blood from the lacerations and suffered a punctured lung with the smashed ribs, but luckily, he said, there were no serious head injuries. He said she later told him she was walking the family dogs on an Eaglewood walkway when she came around a corner and found herself between the moose and its calves.

In the second she made that realization, he said, “the cow (moose) was on her.”

Beck said his sisters attending physician later said “it’s the worst moose attack he’s ever seen.”

Beck said doctors still aren’t sure when his sister might get out of the intensive care unit.

“The poor woman is bruised from head to toe,” he said. “There was a lot of trauma. It’s like being in a big car wreck.”

Doctors want to be sure his sister’s condition is stable before they move her out of the ICU. Beck has been paying regular visits to the hospital, but that’s a little weird.

“I had back surgery just a few weeks ago,” he said, “and she was at the hospital taking care of me.”

Now the roles are reversed. Beck, who has lived in Alaska for decades, said both he and his sister were both well aware of the dangers of moose, but sometimes things just happen. In this case, a momentary lapse in concentration on a dog walk almost proved deadly.

Cows with newborn calves can be extremely aggressive. Wildlife biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are warning people to be on the lookout for the big animals whenever outside this time of year and to make sure to give them plenty of space.

 

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15 replies »

  1. Huh…do I read this right? The woman was severely hurt and the paramedics arrive and they stand around and wait for the cops to get there to chase the moose away. Pretty embarrassing.

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    • steve: i’ve got to believe she was standing right over the poor woman, and they were worried that if they did anything to try tomove her she’d start stomping again. or at least that’s what i’d like to believe. ugly, ugly incicent.

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      • OK. Without knowing more of those details, it may be too soon to judge. It does make me wonder about the responder protocols.

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  2. The mama moose was up on a hill near a tunnel and she blended well into the surroundings we almost didn’t see her when we walked by on the upper sidewalk above the trail not long before the attack.

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  3. It’s terrifying. I read one where they armchair critics described a woman who had been weeding her garden as not paying attention. They obviously don’t weed much. But Craig, it says “the moose’s feet.” Never known you to humanize them critters. I’m also surprised the dogs weren’t much help. Do the dogs also have cuts and bruises from those hooves?

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    • hooves would have been a much better word choice. i plead guilty to 10,000 words per week syndrome. you should get work as an editor. do they still have such things? and yes, none of us can be absolutely vigilant all the time, and in our own ‘hoods is where we are supposed to be able to let our guard down a little. the dogs had the good sense to get away. they usually do. so much for that best friend stuff.

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  4. Hard to place blame on this woman. Sometimes no matter how aware you are, things happen so quickly. 2 years ago I had my dogs out. My senior dog was literally 3 yards in front of me…..I was looking at her and all of a sudden there was a moose head at head level with her. I yelled her name so she’d turn towards me…..I fell to the ground and the moose kicked my little 30 pound senior around. I was so fortunate to not be part of the attack. I scooped up my dog to run and get her to the vet and kept looking down the trail. Didn’t see the cow and started walking carrying my senior dog as well as a young pup on a leash. Never heard her come up on us yet again until I heard a snort. I turned to look and she was head level with me….so close I could have touched her nose. I had nowhere to go so just turned my back to her to not seem threatening and waited……after about 10 seconds, peeked around and she was gone……I know we were very fortunate. My senior dog had a spine injury and went blind in one eye. Prayers for this womans healing and now it will become harder to just get out. Trauma both emotionally and physically. Get better am so glad you survived – moose are powerful, unpredictable and dangerous – we can do our best to pay attention!! AND NEVER let your dog’s chase moose or let your kids harass moose – both of which I’ve witnessed many, many times!

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  5. This falls in the Nasty S#ht Happens category of news items. As Craig said, one can be as careful as possible and still find oneself in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am happy the woman survived. She is unlikely to “walk the dogs” again, though. That is sad.

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  6. I hate it when reporters do not write about the lesson to be learned from the human’s behavior. If she got between the sow and her calves she was NOT being aware of her surroundings and did not see the threat. This should be reported also to teach people about living in our glorious city and state and how to safeguard yourself to the dangers of living in the Great Land.

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    • apparently it was reported enough that you figured it out. that said, situational awareness is a hard, possibly impossible, thing to maintain 24/7. not even the bears and moose can do it. take it from a longtime hunter who has killed a lot of animal whose clearly just weren’t paying enough attention. hard to fault someone out for a walk on a paved, neighborhood pathway for not being on high alert for potential animal dangers. i confessed i’ve almost stumbled into this same thing going from the house across the driveway to the car. there are times we all just don’t pay attention. and it’s cow, not “sow,” but i certainly understand a Freudian slip there.

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      • i admit to being somewhat skeptical of the rock throwing stories. it seems to have been attached to several moose attacks. maybe i’ve somehow missed all the kids throwing rocks at mooose, but i’ve never seen it in all my years in Anchorage. now adults…that’s a different matter.

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    • I live in Eaglewood. The trails are winding and have forks. It is easy to be rounding a corner and get between a momma who is ahead of you and babies who are to the right of you. These are planned trails in a subdivision but also very dense with trees.

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  7. Sincere regrets and prayers for healing for Greg Becks Sister. I’m so very glad she survived !!
    This is Moose 101 (from my persona lexperience thus far)
    First moose don’t attack, they charge. Things that bite attack and in all my years, I’ve never known a moose to bite. This time of year the yearlings are pissed off because Momma has abandoned them and life will never be the same again… The cows are the most protective of their young and experience labor (especially the first time) much the same as humans. For those of you who have given birth or observed one giving birth, the person doing the birthing can be a little pissy too. That said, your best defense to an undulate amped up on hormones is a tree and dogs that are under control. Yelling or screaming at them (again from mistaken experience) does not help your case in any way and a gun is totally foolish. Speaking softly and reassuringly, like you hopefully would when dealing with most angry/frightened living things. Staying behind the tree till they calm themselves works and everyone stays safe. If however, you have an out of control canine companion, you will likely have an out of control undulate and May The Force Be With You. Namaste’, Christi
    Note: I don’t claim to be the brightest bulb on the tree, but I do shine…

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