Teen sleeping in hammock attacked by bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park; bear shot, killed

CROSBY, Tenn. — A bear was shot and killed after National Park Service officials said the animal attacked a teen who had been sleeping in a hammock in the Great Smoky Mountains.

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The 16-year-old girl was camping with her family in the Crosby, Tennessee area of the park in a backcountry campsite, WBIR reported.

The family chased the bear away and called for help around 12:30 a.m. Friday.

The teen, who had multiple cuts to her head and body, was treated by park rangers before she was taken by Tennessee Army National Guard helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, WBIR reported.

She’s in stable condition.

Two bears, one of which was a large male, were seen near the camp. The male, which the family said was the same one that attacked the teen, tried to enter the site multiple times despite rangers trying to scare it away.

Rangers shot and killed the bear and when wildlife biologists examined the animal, they confirmed the bear had human blood on it.

The girl was camping with her family during a two-night backpacking trip, WVLT reported. All of the family’s backpacks and food were stored on aerial food storage cables, as is the common practice.

Rangers say bear attacks are rare, but if it does happen, fight back with any object that is nearby. Also make sure to hike in groups of three or more people, carry bear spray, abide by backcountry closures and follow food storage regulations, WBIR reported.

The campsite is closed until further notice, WVLT reported.