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Cyclists ‘fight off’ cougar, save friend being mauled: Washington Police

todayFebruary 19, 2024

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(NEW YORK) — A group of cyclists saved a fellow rider’s life by fighting off a cougar that attacked her over the holiday weekend on a suburban Seattle trail, according to authorities.

The scary wildlife-human encounter happened Saturday near Fall City, Washington, about 25 miles southeast of Seattle and left the 60-year-old rider hospitalized with serious injuries, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Four other cyclists were hurt when they rushed to save the woman, who suffered injuries to her face, neck and jaw, according to a statement from the WDFW.

“They 100% saved their friend’s life,” WDFW Police Sgt. Carlo Pace told ABC affiliate station KOMO in Seattle.

Pace said the cyclists not only pulled the “subadult” puma off the rider, but they used a bike to capture the beast.

“They were able to pin down a good-sized lion with its claws and teeth and everything else under a mountain bike until we arrived,” Pace said.

The incident unfolded at 12:48 p.m. as the group of cyclists were out enjoying a Presidents Day weekend ride on the Tokul Creek trail, according to the WDFW.

“It jumped from the side of the road and latched onto her, and her friends were able to detach and fight this thing off,” Pace said.

Wildlife officers removed the mountain lion from the area. Eyewitnesses told officers there may have been a second cougar in the vicinity at the time of the attack, according to the WDFW. Officers enlisted the help of a houndsman to search the area, but authorities said they could not locate the second cougar.

The injured cyclist was taken to a hospital, treated and released, Pace said. The names of the cyclist and her life-saving companions were not known.

The attack left other weekend cyclists on the Tokul Creek trail rattled.

“It’s terrifying,” cyclist Luke Chouinard told KOMO. “I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but there is definitely wildlife around these parts, so you always have to be careful and aware.”

WDFW officials said cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare. As of 2022, WDFW estimates there are about 3,600 cougars in Washington state.

In July, a mountain lion attacked an 8-year-old child who was camping with family in Washington’s Olympic National Park. The child’s mother screamed at the big cat, prompting the animal to abandon its attack, according to the National Parks Service.

In May 2018, a cyclist was killed and his friend was injured when they were attacked by a mountain lion while riding on a trial in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, about 30 miles southeast of Seattle, according to the WDFW. The victims initially used one of their bikes to fight off the cougar and shoo it away, but just as they let their guard down, the animal came back and attacked them again, killing a 32-year-old rider.

 

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