SOUTH FORK, Wyoming (KTVX) – A pair of college students are recovering from serious injuries after surviving a grizzly bear attack over the weekend.
The two men, Brady Lowry of Cedar City, Utah, and Kendell Cummings of Evanston, Wyoming, are sophomores at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming. They were horn hunting with two of their teammates in the Shoshone National Forest on Saturday when the attack happened.
Brian Erickson, the college’s athletic director, told the Cowboy State Daily that the group became separated as they were walking down the mountain. Shortly after, a grizzly bear suddenly jumped out and began attacking Lowry.
Speaking with a Utah news outlet, Lowry said the bear knocked him off a cliff and into a gulley.
Cummings then tried to distract the bear and save his friend. Lowry said he saw Cummings grab the bear’s hair and tugged at it.
That’s when the grizzly turned and started to go after Cummings. Speaking with the Cowboy State Daily, Cummings explained that the bear attacked him briefly before leaving him on the ground. When he rose to look for Lowry, he was attacked again.
Lowry explained he was able to get away, find their teammates, and call for help. They were then able to find Cummings, who was left seriously injured by the bear.
Lowry and Cummings had bear spray, but weren’t able to use it before the bear’s attack.
According to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, a hunter and a local resident were able to help the group reach the trailhead and emergency personnel.
Cummings was airlifted to a Billings hospital, while Lowry was transported via ambulance to a nearby hospital. He was later airlifted to Billings as well.
Erickson told the Cowboy State Daily that although the injuries the two college athletes suffered “were very serious in nature,” they are both expected to live. The pair have undergone multiple surgeries after suffering numerous lacerations and broken bones.
The Northwest College Foundation has started a fundraiser to cover Cummings’ and Lowry’s medical expenses.
Wyoming authorities say the attack remains under investigation but based on initial information, it “appears to be a sudden, surprise encounter with a grizzly bear.” In recent weeks, Game and Fish officials say “an abundance of bear activity” has been reported in the area.