Polar bear kills mother, son in Alaska village, state troopers say
WALES, Alaska - A polar bear has attacked and killed two people in a remote village in western Alaska, according to state troopers.
Alaska State Troopers said they received the report of the attack at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in Wales, on the western tip of the Seward Peninsula, KTUU reported.
"Initial reports indicate that a polar bear had entered the community and had chased multiple residents," troopers wrote. "The bear fatally attacked an adult female and juvenile male."
The bear was shot and killed by a local resident as it attacked the pair, troopers said.
polar bear's tracks sit in the snow north of the Arctic Circle across the Alaskan tundra on May 1, 2007 in Kaktovik, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Hutchens/Getty Images)
The names of the two people killed were released Wednesday.
The adult female killed in the attack was identified as 24-year-old Saint Michael resident Summer Myomick. The juvenile was identified as her 1-year-old son Clyde Ongtowasruk. Troopers said they notified family members.
Due to poor weather conditions in the region and the lack of runway lights in Wales, Troopers and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game personnel have been prevented from making it to the area.
Troopers noted they were continuing to make efforts to fly to Wales Wednesday.
Wales is a small, predominantly Inupiaq town of about 150 people, just over 100 miles northwest of Nome.
Fatal polar bear attacks have been rare in Alaska's recent history. In 1990, a polar bear killed a man farther north of Wales in the village of Point Lay. Biologists later said the animal showed signs of starvation, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
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Alaska scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey in 2019 found changes in sea ice habitat had coincided with evidence that polar bears’ use of land was increasing and that the chances of a polar bear encounter had increased.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.