May 20 (UPI) — One man was killed and another was hospitalized after they were attacked by a mountain lion while biking in Washington on Saturday, authorities said.
The 31-year-old man who was injured was upgraded from serious to satisfactory condition and was awake and alert, Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg told KOMO News. The other man, 32, was found dead at the scene.
King County Sheriff’s Office said the two men were riding mountain bikes in the Cascades near North Bend, east of Seattle, when they encountered the mountain lion.
“They were riding when they saw a cougar, kind of stalking them. They did what they were supposed to, which is make noise and distract the cougar. The cougar ran away,” Sgt. Ryan Abbott told the Seattle Times.
As the men attempted to assess what happened, the cougar returned to attack again. The 31-year-old said the mountain lion had his entire head in its mouth at one point before it turned its attention to the other man as he attempted to flee.
The first man rode his bike for about 2 miles to get cellphone reception and called 911 for help. Deputies and medics arrived at the scene in about 30 minutes where they found the mountain lion standing on top of the second man’s body.
Abbott said deputies shot at the mountain lion and scared it away.
Later, Fish and Wildlife police used two tracking dogs to find the cougar in a tree 50 to 200 yards from the man’s body. Once the mountain lion was found officers shot and killed it.
The attack was the second fatal mountain lion attack in Washington in the last 94 years, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Fish and Wildlife Captain Alan Myers said it didn’t appear the two men had done anything to provoke the attack.
“It sounds like they were just riding bikes when one of the victims hears a scream from his partner and sees they’re being chased by a cougar,” Myers said.
Officials will analyze the cougar’s body and brain to determine if it had any condition that caused it to attack.