Missing Alaska hiker found alive after bear attack

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska hiker walked out of the woods Wednesday about a mile from where she vanished the day before after calling her husband to say she had been charged by bears.

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Fina Kiefer, 55, of Palmer was spotted at around 5:30 p.m. by a search-and-rescue volunteer as she emerged from Pioneer Ridge Trail, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

According to a statement issued by the Alaska Air National Guard, Kiefer flagged down the volunteer and was taken to an area hospital for evaluation of her injuries.

Troopers with the Alaska State Police’s Matanuska-Susitna borough were notified just before 1:30 a.m. Tuesday that a solo hiker on the trail needed help after she phoned her husband to say multiple bears charged her and she deployed bear spray, the newspaper reported.

“She was chased off the trail by bears and couldn’t find it again,” Master Sgt. Evan Budd, superintendent of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center and a full-time member of the Alaska Air National Guard, said in a Wednesday statement. Kiefer was able to start a fire Tuesday night with waterproof matches, he said.

Kiefer’s call to her husband prompted an aerial and ground search involving troopers, the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, the Alaska Air National Guard, MAT+SAR, Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol and Solstice Search and Rescue Dogs, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Meanwhile, sleeping campers in Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge were mauled at about midnight Saturday. The campers were injured in the attack but able to leave the area, a refuge ranger told Reuters.