A Soldier Dies And Another Is Injured After a Bear Attack

SSG Seth Plant died Wednesday following a bear attack during training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.

(WABNEWS) — A soldier has died after being attacked by a bear that wildlife authorities say may have been trying to protect her cubs.

After being attacked and suffering serious injuries, Sergeant Seth Michael Plant was taken to the Army base hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Alaska Army reported in a statement. press release this Thursday.

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Another soldier was also injured during the attack, according to the statement, and was treated for minor injuries and released.

Plant was an infantryman with the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment and was working in a training area at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) when the attack occurred, according to the release.

“Sergeant Plant was an integral part of our organization,” Lt. Col. David J. Nelson, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, said in a statement. “He was a positive and dedicated leader who brought joy and energy to the paratroopers who served with him.”

Plant, 30, received several awards and decorations, including the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. .

“He always had a smile on his face, always went above and beyond what was asked of him and was an inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing him,” said Nelson. “Your loss of him is deeply felt within our organization and we offer our deepest condolences to friends and family.”

Before joining the active duty Army in January 2015, Plant, who is from Saint Augustine, Florida, served in the reserves and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to the release. He arrived at JBER in July 2021.

Probably a defensive attack from a bear

The area where Plant was attacked is in a remote part of the military base, according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Department employees were called to the area after the attack occurred and found a bear den nearby with two grizzly bear cubs.

“From everything we know so far, based on the scene investigation and information from other responding agencies, it appears to be a defensive attack by a female bear protecting her cubs,” said Cyndi Wardlow, Southcentral regional supervisor for the department in the press release. “We’re trying to get as much information as possible about what happened to increase public safety around wildlife in Alaska.”

All three species of North American bears live in Alaska, according to the ADFG website, although hair collected from the scene suggests it was a grizzly bear, the department said. While the animals tend to “avoid or ignore people,” they can be dangerous, the department says.

An adult female bear was seen on hunting cameras returning to the den and leaving with the cubs, the department said.

Army Criminal Investigation Division personnel are working with Alaska Wildlife Troopers, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and other agencies to investigate the attack.

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