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Yellowstone park releases report on grizzly attack

September 20, 2011 |  2:44 pm

Grizzly bear in yellowstone

Officials at Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday released a report on the July 6 mauling by a grizzly that killed Brian Matayoshi, 57, of Torrance. The attack, which authorities described as a "one in 3 million" occurrence, was the first fatal mauling of a park visitor in 25 years.

The investigative record includes audio of the 911 calls that other hikers made seeking help. In one instance, a trauma surgeon who was part of a group of six hikers reported hearing Marylyn Matayoshi calling for help and asked if he should assist. 

The report added few details to what was already known about the incident, which occurred when Matayoshi and his wife, Marylyn, were hiking on the Wapiti Lake trail. The couple had earlier joined others watching a female grizzly and two cubs.

They had walked away from the bears, but when the couple turned to look back, the grizzly sow was charging them, the report said. Matayoshi yelled to his wife to run, and both raced down the trail yelling, according to the report. 

Running from the bear was a mistake, investigators said. 

"What possibly began as an attempt by the bear to assess the Matayoshis' activities became a sustained pursuit of them as they fled running and yelling on the trail,” the investigation team report said.

Investigators reconstructing the incident estimated that even with the couple running at full speed, the grizzly sow would have been able to overtake them in less than one minute.

The sow reached Brian Matayoshi first, fatally biting and puncturing the femoral artery in his leg. The bear then approached Marylyn Matayoshi, who was on the ground behind a log. The bear picked her up by the backpack she was wearing, then dropped her to the ground, uninjured.

Park officials took no action against the bear because they concluded that the sow was acting to defend her cubs and had had no previous human encounters.  

ALSO:

Grizzly bear kills hiker in Yellowstone National Park

Grim outlook for grizzlies in Yellowstone region

Yellowstone grizzly bear euthanized for 'predatory behaviors'

-- Julie Cart

Photo: A Yellowstone grizzly in 2010. Credit: James Peaco/ Associated Press 

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