Bear bites Harborview teacher - but he's OK

Posted: Monday, July 24, 2000

A Juneau special education teacher is apparently OK after a nasty bear encounter near Angoon.

Steve Byars, 40, a teacher at Harborview Elementary School, told George Golden that he startled a bear and was bitten. Golden is a mechanic with the Whalers Cove Sportsfishing Lodge.

Golden was listening to VHF radio Sunday at about 10:15 a.m. when Byars asked about the tides.

``I just happened to be in the shop,'' he said. ``At that time, he mentioned that he'd been nailed by a bear.''

Byars was at Sitka Community Hospital today, but he did not respond to calls before the Empire's midday deadline. The hospital would not provide information on his condition.

Golden said Byars told him that he was packing his kayak with gear when he surprised the bear and vice versa. The bear grabbed him and bit him on his right side, Golden said.

``He did have some puncture wounds.''

Other than moving slowly and being a bit ashen-faced, Golden said, Byars appeared not to be seriously injured.

Golden picked up Byars at a place called Stillwater in Mitchell Bay, which is just a couple of miles from Angoon. From the clinic in Angoon, Byars was flown by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to Sitka at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

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