Father, 8-year-old son hurt in East Tennessee bear attack

UPDATE 8/12/08 4:50 p.m.: GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) -- A young Florida boy and his father are recovering from minor injuries after the child was attacked by a black bear in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A park spokesman said 8-year-old Evan Pala and his father John Pala -- of Boca Raton -- were able to leave a hospital in Sevierville (suh-VEER'-vil) Monday night, hours after the attack along Rainbow Falls Trail.

Rangers later spotted a young male bear that matched the description of the one that attacked the boy. They shot and killed the animal after it acted aggressively toward them.

Rangers found a child's cap and shoe believed to belong to the child.

The boy suffered cuts, scratches and some puncture wounds. The father received several cuts during the attack.

Park spokesman Bob Miller said John Pala drove the bear away with rocks and sticks, but the 86-pound animal came back and attacked again.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


Sevier County (WVLT) - Two people are hurt after a bear attack in the Smoky Mountains Monday.

A father and his young son were attacked on the Rainbow Falls trail. Park spokesperson Bob Miller told us, it was an unprovoked attack. He says the bear attacked the group twice, before the dad scared the bear off with sticks and rocks.

Wildlife officials later shot and killed what they believe is the bear, weighing about 55 pounds. The father and son were transported to Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center with cuts and puncture wounds, but they're not considered life threatening.

"It's very unusual, we had a fatal bear attack here in 2000, when a woman from Cosby was killed near the Elkmont area by a sow bear about 115 pounds, not a real big bear, but other than that, we typically, the injuries we get are very few and far between," Miller said.

The bear was taken to UT for a necropsy. No word if the Rainbow Falls trail will be closed Tuesday. We will continue to update you on this developing story.

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  • by Trish Location: Memphis on Aug 19, 2008 at 02:33 PM
    This was an unprovoked attack? That's hard to believe. Give a black bear its space, don't intentionally aggravate it, and it will go away. I've encountered bears on the Rainbow Falls Trail before (the latest was in June) and never had a problem. Come on, people - of course, respect the wildlife. If you can't do that then stay at home. Now we've lost another bear because some people choose not to follow safety guidelines.
  • by minnie Location: knoxville on Aug 12, 2008 at 07:20 PM
    Are you sure this was un unprovaoked attack? the people look like Florida IDiots out to get attention, sure shot all the bears then you have nothing left for the tourists


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