More Alaskans mauled by bears in Alaska

Alex Ippoliti witness to bear attack

It was only after that that he saw the cub up in a spruce tree. "It could have been any kind of animal", Ippoliti says.

Harnessing his military training, Ippoliti jumped into action, helping his bleeding friend by tying his shirt around his neck wound.

The married US Air Force veteran and Air National Guardsman from Eagle Rock was carrying a six-year-old can of bear deterrent spray and doused the bear while shrieking loudly to draw its attention away from Fredrick, eventually causing it to flee into the bushes, reported NBC12.

"This dude saved my life yesterday", he wrote of Ippoliti on Facebook, showing a photo of the two in Fredrick's hospital room.

Wildlife officials aren't completely sure why there's been so many attacks in such a short time but one official says it may be because bears are coming closer to people as they follow food sources, including moose. 'I'd be dead right now without Alex'.

Alaska is experiencing a spate of bear attacks, with four people attacked in less than a week, resulting in two fatalities.

Altogether, the ordeal from the attack to help arriving lasted about 15 minutes, according to Ippoliti.

"It's probably the longest 15 minutes of my life", Ippoliti said while waiting for medical help for his friend.

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Frederick had major cuts to his neck, lost a portion of his bicep and had stitches in his eyebrow and nose after the attack.

The pair had taken all the appropriate precautions while traveling along the road, Ippoliti said, and although he has biked in the area many times, he had never encountered a brown bear before.

Dave Battle, the state Fish and Game area biologist for the Anchorage region, also noted that more people also are spending time in the backcountry than they did in the past.

Several others were injured in three brown bear maulings that occurred in the Anchorage area since mid-June. But he cautioned that many factors could be involved. One was a 16-year-old boy taking part in a mountain race in Anchorage, and the other was a mine contract worker attacked 275 miles northeast of Anchorage.

"The long and short of it is that no one knows exactly what's going on", he said, noting that the number of bear encounters can vary widely from year to year.

Before last week, the last fatal mauling in Alaska occurred near Delta Junction in Alaska's interior in 2013, when a man was killed by a male black bear.

As the two men managed to move down the gravel road towards where help was arriving, they noticed a bear cub in a tree near the side of the road where Fredrick was attacked.

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